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J. J. Mc Knight 





The Five-Foot Shelf of Books 





Stories fror 
Thousand an ' ' _;iits 



Wiin inir 

P, ^^ 

V F \V 

i Ln.*i iiLXon 

Shahrazad relating a story to the Sultan 


Stories from The 
Thousand and One Nights 





y^ith Introduction and Notes 
Volume 1 6 

P. F. Collier & Son Corporation 


Copyright, 1909 
By p. F. Collier & Son 

manufactured in u. s. a. 

MAY 2 3 1953 






The Story of the Merchant and the Jinni 15 

The Story of the First Sheykh and the Gazelle 17 

The Story of the Second Sheykh and the Two Black Hounds . 21 

The Story of the Third Sheykh and the Mule 24 


The Story of the Fisherman 25 

The Story of King Yunan and the Sage Duban 30 

The Story of the Husband and the Parrot 33 

The Story of the Envious Wezir and the Prince and the Ghuleh 35 

The Story of the Young King of the Black Islands .... 46 

NIGHTS 9-18 
The Story of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad, and of the 

Three Royal Mendicants, Etc. . 
The Story of the First Royal Mendicant 
The Story of the Second Royal Mendicant 
The Story of the Envier and the Envied 
The Story of the Third Royal Mendicant 
The Story of the First of the Three Ladies of Baghdad 
The Story of the Second of the Three Ladies of Baghdad 







NIGHTS 24-32 

The Story of the Humpback 115 

The Story Told by the Christian Broker 120 

The Story Told by the Sultan's Steward 133 

The Story Told by the Jewish Physician 142 

The Story Told by the Tailor 149 



The Barber's Story of Himself 162 

The Barber's Story of His First Brother 164 

The Barber's Story of His Second Brother 168 

The Barber's Story of His Third Brother 171 

The Barber's Story of His Fourth Brother 174 

The Barber's Fifth Brother 177 

The Barber's Story of His Sixth Brother 184 

NIGHTS 32-36 
The Story of Nur-Ed-Din and Enis-El-Jelis 193 

NIGHTS 537-566 

The Story of Es-Sindibad of the Sea and Es-Sindibad of the Land 231 

The First Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 234 

The Second Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 243 

The Third Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 250 

The Fourth Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 260 

The Fifth Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 273 

The Sixth Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 282 

The Seventh Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 290 

NIGHTS 566-578 
The Story of the City of Brass 296 

NIGHTS 738-756 
The Story of Jullanar of the Sea 326 

The Story of 'Ala-ed-Din and the Wonderful Lamp. -341 
The Story of *Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 424 


"The Thousand and One Nights" is one of the great story-books of 
the world. It was introduced to European readers by the French scholar 
Galland, who discovered the Arabic original and translated it into French 
in the first decade of the eighteenth century; but its earlier history is 
still involved in obscurity. There existed as early as the tenth century 
of our era a Persian collection of a thousand tales, enclosed in a frame- 
work which is practically the one used in the present collection, telling 
of a King who was in the habit of killing his wives after the first night, 
and who was led to abandon this practise by the cleverness of the Wezir's 
daughter, who nightly told him a tale which she left unfinished at dawn, 
so that his curiosity led him to spare her till the tale should be completed. 
Whether more than the framework of the Arabian collection was bor- 
rowed from this Persian work is uncertain. The tales in the collection of 
Galland and in more complete editions discovered since his time are 
chiefly Persian, Indian, and Arabian in source, and in ultimate origin 
come from all the ends of the earth. No two manuscripts have precisely 
the same contents, and some of the most famous of the tales here printed 
are probably not properly to be regarded as belonging to the collection, 
but owe their association with the others to their having been included 
by Galland. Thus " 'Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" is found in no 
Oriental version of the "Nights," and " *Ala-ed-Din and the Wonderful 
Lamp" was long supposed to be in the same situation, though within 
recent years it has turned up in two manuscripts. 

Both the place and the date of the original compilation are still matters 
of dispute among scholars. From such evidences as the detailed nature 
of the references to Cairo and the prevailing Mohammedan background. 
Lane argued that it must have been put together in Egypt; but this 
opinion is by no means universally accepted. As to date, estimates vary 
by several centuries. Burton, who believed in a strong Persian element, 
thought that some of the oldest tales, such as that of "Sindibad," might be 
as old as the eighth century of our era; some thirteen he dated tenth 
century, and the latest in the sixteenth. There is a fair amount of agree- 
ment on the thirteenth century as the date of arrangement in the present 
framework, though they were probably not committed to writing till some 
two centuries later. 

Of a collection of fables, fairy-stories, and anecdotes of historical per- 
sonages such as this, there can, of course, be no question of a single 


author. Both before and after they were placed in the mouth of Shahra- 
zad, they were handed down by oral recitation, the usual form of story- 
telling among the Arabs. As in the case of our own popular ballads, 
whatever marks of individual authorship any one story may originally 
have borne, would be obliterated in the course of generations of tradition 
by word of mouth. Of the personality of an original editor or compiler, 
even, we have no trace. Long after writing had to some extent fixed their 
forms, the oral repetition went on; and some of them could be heard in 
Mohammedan countries almost down to our own times. 

In the two hundred years of their currency in the West, the stories of 
the "Nights" have engrafted themselves upon European culture. They 
have made the fairy-land of the Oriental imagination and the mode of 
life of the medieval Arab, his manners and his morals, familiar to young 
and old; and allusions to their incidents and personages are wrought into 
the language and literature of all the modern civilized peoples. Their 
mark is found upon music and painting as well as on letters and the 
common speech, as is witnessed by such diverse results of their inspira- 
tion as the music of Rimsky-Korsakoff, the illustrations of Parrish, and 
the marvelous idealization of their background and atmosphere in Tenny- 
son's "Recollections of the Arabian Nights," "Barmecide Feast," "Open 
Sesame," "Old Lamps for New," "Solomon's Seal," "The Old Man of 
the Sea," "The Slave of the Lamp," "The Valley of Diamonds," "The 
Roc's Egg," Haroun^al-Raschid and his "Garden of Delight," — these 
and many more phrases and allusions of every-day occurrence suggest 
how pervasive has been the influence of this wonder-book of the mysteri- 
ous East. 

The translation by E. W. Lane used here has been the standard English 
version for general reading for eighty years. The translations of " 'Ali 
Baba" and " *Ala-ed-Din" are by S. Lane-Poole and for permission to 
use the latter we are indebted to Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 


In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. 

Praise be to God, the Beneficent King, the Creator of the universe, 
who hath raised the heavens w^ithout pillars, and spread out the earth as 
a bed; and blessing and peace be on the lord of aposdes, our lord and 
our master Mohammad, and his Family; blessing and peace, enduring 
and constant, unto the day of judgment. 

To proceed: — ^The lives of former generations are a lesson to posterity; 
that a man may revievi^ the remarkable events vv^hich have happened to 
others, and be admonished; and may consider the history of people of 
preceding ages, and of all that hath befallen them, and be restrained. 
Extolled be the perfection of Him who hath thus ordained the history 
of former generations to be a lesson to those which follow. Such are the 
Tales of a Thousand and One Nights, with their romantic stories and 
their fables. 

It is related (but God alone is all-knowing, as well as all-wise, and 
almighty, and all-bountiful), that there was, in ancient times, a King of 
the countries of India and China, possessing numerous troops, and 
guards, and servants, and domestic dependents; and he had two sons; 
one of whom was a man of mature age; and the other, a youth. Both of 
these princes were brave horsemen; but especially the elder, who inherited 
the kingdom of his father, and governed his subjects with such justice 
that the inhabitants of his country and whole empire loved him. He 
was called King Shahriyar: his younger brother was named Shah- 
Zeman,^ and was King of Samarkand. The administration of their 
governments was conducted with rectitude, each of them ruling over his 
subjects with justice during a period of twenty years with the utmost 
enjoyment and happiness. After this period, the elder King felt a strong 
desire to see his brother, and ordered his Wezir^ to repair to him and 
bring him. 

Having taken the advice of the Wezir on this subject, he immediately 
gave orders to prepare handsome presents, such as horses adorned with 

* [Shahriyar, "Friend of the City;" Shah-Zeman, "King of the Age."] 
2 [In Persian and Turkish, Vezir; popular, Vizier.] 


gold and costly jewels, and memluks,^ and beautiful virgins, and expen- 
sive stuffs. He then wrote a letter to his brother, expressive of his great 
desire to see him; and having sealed it, and given it to the Wezir, to- 
gether with the presents above mentioned, he ordered the minister to 
strain his nerves, and tuck up his skirts, and use all expedition in return- 
ing. The Wezir answered, without delay, I hear and obey; and forthwith 
prepared for the journey: he packed his baggage, removed the burdens, 
and made ready all his provisions within three days; and on the fourth 
day, he took leave of the King Shahriyar, and went forth towards the 
deserts and wastes. He proceeded night and day; and each of the kings 
under the authority of King Shahriyar by whose residence he passed 
came forth to meet him, with costly presents, and gifts of gold and 
silver, and entertained him three days; after which, on the fourth day, 
he accompanied him one day's journey, and took leave of him. Thus he 
continued on his way until he drew near to the city of Samarkand, when 
he sent forward a messenger to inform King Shah-Zeman of his ap- 
proach. The messenger entered the city, inquired the way to the palace, 
and, introducing himself to the King, kissed the ground before him, and 
acquainted him with the approach of his brother's Wezir; upon which 
Shah-Zeman ordered the chief officers of his court, and the great men of 
his kingdom, to go forth a day's journey to meet him; and they did so; 
and when they met him, they welcomed him, and walked by his stirrups 
until they returned to the city. The Wezir then presented himself before 
the King Shah-Zeman, greeted him with a prayer for the divine assistance 
in his favour, kissed the ground before him, and informed him of his 
brother's desire to see him; after which he handed to him the letter. The 
King took it, read it, and understood its contents; and answered by 
expressing his readiness to obey the commands of his brother. But, said 
he (addressing the Wezir), I will not go until I have entertained thee 
three days. Accordingly, he lodged him in a palace befitting his rank, 
accommodated his troops in tents, and appointed them all things requisite 
in the way of food and drink: and so they remained three days. On the 
fourth day, he equipped himself for the journey, made ready his baggage, 
and collected together costly presents suitable to his brother's dignity. 

These preparations being completed, he sent forth his tents and camels 
and mules and servants and guards, appointed his Wezir to be governor 
of the country during his absence, and set out towards his brother's 
dominions. At midnight, however, he remembered that he had left in 
his palace an article which he should have brought with him; and hav- 

3 Male white slaves. 


ing returned to the palace to fetch it, he there beheld his wife sleeping 
in his bed, and attended by a male negro slave, who had fallen asleep 
by her side. 

On beholding this scene, the world became black before his eyes; and 
he said within himself. If this is the case when I have not departed from 
the city, what will be the conduct of this vile woman while I am sojourn- 
ing with my brother? He then drew his sword, and slew them both in 
the bed: after which he immediately returned, gave orders for departure, 
and journeyed to his brother's capital. 

Shahriyar, rejoicing at the tidings of his approach, went forth to meet 
him, saluted him, and welcomed him with the utmost delight. He then 
ordered that the city should be decorated on the occasion, and sat down 
to entertain his brother with cheerful conversation: but the mind of King 
Shah-Zeman was distracted by reflections upon the conduct of his wife; 
excessive grief took possession of him; and his countenance became 
sallow; and his frame emaciated. His brother observed his altered con- 
dition, and, imagining that it was occasioned by his absence from his 
dominions, abstained from troubling him or asking respecting the cause, 
until after the lapse of some days, when at length he said to him, O my 
brother, I perceive that thy body is emaciated, and thy countenance is 
become sallow. He answered, O brother, I have an internal sore: — and 
he informed him not of the conduct of his wife which he had witnessed. 
Shahriyar then said, I wish that thou wouldest go out with me on a 
hunting excursion; perhaps thy mind might so be diverted: — but he 
declined; and Shahriyar went alone to the chase. 

Now there were some windows in the King's palace commanding a 
view of his garden; and while his brother was looking out from one of 
these, a door of the palace was opened, and there came forth from it 
twenty females and twenty male black slaves; and the King's wife, who 
was distinguished by extraordinary beauty and elegance, accompanied 
them to a fountain, where they all disrobed themselves, and sat down 
together. The King's wife then called out, O Mes'ud! and immediately 
a black slave came to her, and embraced her; she doing the like. So also 
did the other slaves and the women; and all of them continued revelling 
together until the close of the day. When Shah-Zeman beheld this spec- 
tacle, he said within himself, By Allah! my affliction is lighter than this! 
His vexation and grief were alleviated, and he no longer abstained from 
sufficient food and drink. 

When his brother returned from his excursion, and they had saluted 
each other, and King Shahriyar observed his brother Shah-Zeman, that 


his colour had returned, that his face had recovered the flush of health, 
and that he ate with appetite, after his late abstinence, he was surprised, 
and said, O my brother, when I saw thee last, thy countenance was 
sallow, and now thy colour hath returned to thee: acquaint me with thy 
state. — ^As to the change of my natural complexion, answered Shah- 
Zeman, I will inform thee of its cause; but excuse my explaining to thee 
the return of my colour. — First, said Shahriyar, relate to me the cause of 
the change of thy proper complexion, and of thy weakness: let me hear 
it. — Know then, O my brother, he answered, that when thou sentest thy 
Wezir to me to invite me to thy presence, I prepared myself for the 
journey, and when I had gone forth from the city, I remembered that I 
had left behind me the jewel that I have given thee; I therefore returned 
to my palace for it, and there I found my wife sleeping in my bed, and 
attended by a black male slave; and I killed them both, and came to thee: 
but my mind was occupied by reflections upon this affair, and this was 
the cause of the change of my complexion, and of my weakness: now, as 
to the return of my colour, excuse my informing thee of its cause. — 
But when his brother heard these words, he saidy I conjure thee by 
Allah that thou acquaint me with the cause of the return of thy colour: — 
so he repeated to him all that he had seen. I would see this, said Shah- 
riyar, with my own eye. — ^Then, said Shah-Zeman, give out that thou 
art going again to the chase, and conceal thyself here with me, and thou 
shalt witness this conduct, and obtain ocular proof of it. 

Shariyar, upon this, immediately announced that it was his intention 
to make another excursion. The troops went out of the city with the 
tents, and the King followed them; and after he had reposed awhile in 
the camp, he said to his servants, Let no one come in to me: — and he 
disguised himself, and returned to his brother in the palace, and sat in 
one of the windows overlooking the garden; and when he had been 
there a short time, the women and their mistress entered the garden with 
the black slaves, and did as his brother had described, continuing so until 
the hour of the afternoon-prayer. 

When King Shahriyar beheld this occurrence, reason fled from his 
head, and he said to his brother, Shah-Zeman, Arise, and let us travel 
whither we please, and renounce the regal state, until we see whether 
such a calamity as this have befallen any other person like unto us; and 
if not, our death will be preferable to our life. His brother agreed to 
his proposal, and they went out from a private door of the palace, and 
journeyed continually, days and nights, until they arrived at a tree in 
the midst of a meadow, by a spring of water, on the shore of the sea. They 


drank of this spring, and sat down to rest; and when the day had a litde 
advanced, the sea became troubled before them, and there arose from it 
a black pillar, ascending towards the sky, and approaching the meadow. 
Struck with fear at the sight, they climbed up into the tree, which was 
lofty; and thence they gazed to see what this might be: and behold, it 
was a Jinni* of gigantic stature, broad-fronted and bulky, bearing on his 
head a chest. He landed, and came to the tree into which the two Kings 
had climbed, and, having seated himself beneath it, opened the chest, 
and took out of it another box, which he also opened; and there came 
forth from it a young woman, fair and beautiful, like the shining sun. 
When the Jinni cast his eyes upon her, he said, O lady of noble race, 
whom I carried off on thy wedding-night, I have a desire to sleep a little: 
and he placed his head upon her knee, and slept. The damsel then 
raised her head towards the tree, and saw there the two Kings; upon 
which she removed the head of the Jinni from her knee, and, having 
placed it on the ground, stood under the tree, and made signs to the 
two Kings, as though she would say, Come down, and fear not this 
'Efrit. They answered her. We conjure thee by Allah that thou excuse 
us in this matter. But she said, I conjure you by the same that ye come 
down; and if ye do not, I will rouse this 'Efrit, and he shall put you to 
a cruel death. So, being afraid, they came down to her; and, after they 
had remained with her as long as she required, she took from her pocket 
a purse, and drew out from this a string, upon which were ninety-eight 
seal-rings; and she said to them. Know ye what are these? They an- 
swered. We know not. — ^The owners of these rings, said she, have, all 
of them, been admitted to converse with me, like as ye have, unknown 
to this foolish 'Efrit; therefore, give me your two rings, ye brothers. So 
they gave her their two rings from their fingers; and then she said to 
them. This 'Efrit carried me off on my wedding-night, and put me in 
the box, and placed the box in the chest, and affixed to the chest seven 

^Sing. of Jinn (Genii), being created of fire. The species of Jinn is said to have 
been created some thousands of years before Adam. According to a tradition from 
the Prophet, this species consists of five orders or classes; namely, Jann (who are the 
least powerful of all), Jinn, Sheytans (or Devils), 'Efrits, and Marids. The last, it is 
added, are the most powerful; and the Jann are transformed Jinn; like as certain 
apes and swine were transformed men. The terms Jinn and Jann, however, are gen- 
erally used indiscriminately, as names of the whole species (including the other 
orders above mentioned), whether good or bad; the former term is the more com- 
mon. [Iblis is Satan, their King.] "Sheytan" is commonly used to signify any evil 
Jinn. An 'Efrit is a powerful evil Jinni: a Marid, an evil Jinni of the most powerful 
class. The Jinn (but generally speaking, evil ones) are called by the Persians Divs; 
the most powerful evil Jinn, Narahs (which signifies "males," though they are said to 
be males and females); the good Jinn, Peris, though this term is commonly applied to 


locks, and deposited me, thus imprisoned, in the bottom of the roaring 
sea, beneath the dashing waves; not knowing that, when one of our sex 
desires to accompUsh any object, nothing can prevent her. In accordance 
with this, says one of the poets: 

Never trust in women; nor rely upon their vows; 

For their pleasure and displeasure depend upon their passions. 

They offer a false affection; for perfidy lurks within their clothing. 

By the tale of Yusuf be admonished, and guard against their stratagems. 

Dost thou not consider that Iblis ejected Adam by means of woman? 

And another poet says: — 

Abstain from censure; for it will strengthen the censured, and increase 

desire into violent passion. 
If I suffer such passion, my case is but the same as that of many a man 

before me: 
For greatly indeed to be wondered at is he who hath kept himself safe 

from women's artifice. 

When the two Kings heard these words from her lips they were struck 
with the utmost astonishment, and said, one to the other, If this is an 
*Efrit, and a greater calamity hath happened unto him than that which 
hath befallen us, this is a circumstance that should console us: — and 
immediately they departed, and returned to the city. 

As soon as they had entered the palace, Shahriyar caused his wife to 
be beheaded, and in like manner the women and black slaves; and 
thenceforth he made it his regular custom, every time that he took a 
virgin to his bed, to kill her at the expiration of the night. Thus he 
continued to do during a period of three years; and the people raised 
an outcry against him, and fled with their daughters, and there remained 
not a virgin in the city of a sufficient age for marriage. Such was the case 
when the King ordered the Wezir to bring him a virgin according to 
his custom; and the Wezir went forth and searched, and found none; 
and he went back to his house enraged and vexed, fearing what the 
King might do to him. 

Now the Wezir had two daughters; the elder of whom was named 
Shahrazad; and the younger, Dunyzad. The former had read various 
books of histories, and the lives of preceding kings, and stories of past 
generations: it is asserted that she had collected together a thousand 
books of histories, relating to preceding generations and kings, and 
works of the poets: and she said to her father on this occasion. Why do 


I see thee thus changed, and oppressed with solicitude and sorrows? It 
has been said by one of the poets: — 

Tell him who is oppressed with anxiety, that anxiety will not last: 
As happiness passeth away, so passeth away anxiety. 

When the Wezir heard these words from his daughter, he related to her 
all that had happened to him with regard to the King: upon which she 
said. By Allah, O my father, give me in marriage to this King: either I 
shall die, and be a ransom for one of the daughters of the Muslims, or 
I shall live, and be the cause of their deliverance from him. I conjure 
thee by Allah, exclaimed he, that thou expose not thyself to such peril: — 
but she said, It must be so. Then, said he, I fear for thee that the same 
will befall thee that happened in the case of the Ass and the Bull and 
the husbandman. — ^And what, she asked, was that, O my father? 

Know, O my daugher, said the Wezir, that there was a certain mer- 
chant, who possessed wealth and catde, and had a wife and children; 
and God, whose name be exalted, had also endowed him with the knowl- 
edge of the languages of beasts and birds. The abode of this merchant 
was in the country; and he had, in his house, an ass and a bull. When 
the bull came to the place where the ass was tied, he found it swept and 
sprinkled; in his manger were sifted barley and sifted cut straw, and the 
ass was lying at his ease; his master being accustomed only to ride him 
occasionally, when business required, and soon to return: and it hap- 
pened, one day, that the merchant overheard the bull saying to the ass, 
May thy food benefit thee! I am oppressed with fatigue, while thou art 
enjoying repose: thou eatest sifted barley, and men serve thee; and it is 
only occasionally that thy master rides thee, and returns; while I am 
continually employed in ploughing, and turning the mill. — The ass 
answered. When thou goest out to the field, and they place the yoke 
upon thy neck, lie down, and do not rise again, even if they beat thee; 
or, if thou rise, lie down a second time; and when they take thee back, 
and place the beans before thee, eat them not, as though thou wert sick: 
abstain from eating and drinking a day or two days, or three; and so 
shalt thou find rest from trouble and labour. — Accordingly, when the 
driver came to the bull with his fodder, he ate scarcely any of it; and on 
the morrow, when the driver came again to take him to plough, he 
found him apparently quite infirm: so the merchant said. Take the ass, 
and make him draw the plough in his stead all the day. The man did 
so; and when the ass returned at the close of the day, the bull thanked 


him for the favour he had conferred upon him by relieving him of his 
trouble on that day; but the ass returned him no answer, for he repented 
most grievously. On the next day, the ploughman came again, and took 
the ass, and ploughed w^ith him till evening; and the ass returned w^ith 
his neck flayed by the yoke, and reduced to an extreme state of w^eakness; 
and the bull looked upon him, and thanked and praised him. The ass 
exclaimed, I w^as living at ease, and nought but my meddling hath in- 
jured me! Then said he to the bull. Know that I am one who would give 
thee good advice: I heard our master say. If the bull rise not from his 
place, take him to the butcher, that he may kill him, and make a nat*^ 
of his skin: — I am therefore in fear for thee, and so I have given thee 
advice; and peace be on thee! — When the bull heard these words of the 
ass, he thanked him, and said. To-morrow I will go with alacrity: — so 
he ate the whole of his fodder, and even licked the manger. — Their 
master, meanwhile, was listening to their conversation. 

On the following morning, the merchant and his wife went to the 
bull's crib, and sat down there; and the driver came, and took out the 
bull; and when the bull saw his master, he shook his tail, and showed 
his alacrity by sounds and actions, bounding about in such a manner 
that the merchant laughed until he fell backwards. His wife, in surprise, 
asked him. At what dost thou laugh? He answered. At a thing that I 
have heard and seen; but I cannot reveal it; for if I did, I should die. 
She said, Thou must inform me of the cause of thy laughter, even if 
thou die. — I cannot reveal it, said he: the fear of death prevents me. — 
Thou laughedst only at me, she said; and she ceased not to urge and 
importune him until he was quite overcome and distracted. So he called 
together his children, and sent for the Kadi and witnesses, that he might 
make his will, and reveal the secret to her, and die: for he loved her 
excessively, since she was the daughter of his paternal uncle, and the 
mother of his children, and he had lived with her to the age of a hundred 
and twenty years. Having assembled her family and his neighbours, he 
related to them his story, and told them that as soon as he revealed his 
secret he must die; upon which every one present said to her, We con- 
jure thee by Allah that thou give up this affair, and let not thy husband, 
and the father of thy children, die. But she said, I will not desist until 
he tell me, though he die for it. So they ceased to solicit her; and the 
merchant left them, and went to the stable to perform the ablution, and 
then to return, and tell them the secret, and die. 

Now he had a cock, with fifty hens under him, and he had also a dog; 

^Nat': a large round piece of leather which, spread upon the ground, serves as a 
table for dinner, etc. 


and he heard the dog call to the cock, and reproach him, saying, Art 
thou happy when our master is going to die? The cock asked, How so? 
— and the dog related to him the story; upon which the cock exclaimed, 
By Allah! our master has little sense: / have fifty wives; and I please 
this, and provoke that; while he has but one one wife, and cannot man- 
age this affair with her: why does he not take some twigs of the mul- 
berry-tree, and enter her chamber, and beat her until she dies or repents ? 
She would never, after that, ask him a question respecting anything. — 
And when the merchant heard the words of the cock, as he addressed 
the dog, he recovered his reason, and made up his mind to beat her. — 
Now, said the Wezir to his daughter Shahrazad, perhaps I may do to 
thee as the merchant did to his wife. She asked. And what did he? He 
answered. He entered her chamber after he had cut off some twigs of 
the mulberry-tree, and hidden them there; and then said to her. Come 
into the chamber, that I may tell thee the secret while no one sees me, 
and then die: — and when she had entered, he locked the chamber-door 
upon her, and beat her until she became almost senseless and cried out, 
I repent: — and she kissed his hands and his feet, and repented, and went 
out with him; and all the company, and her own family, rejoiced; and 
they lived together in the happiest manner until death. 

When the Wezir's daughter heard the words of her father, she said 
to him. It must be as I have requested. So he arrayed her, and went to 
the King Shahriyar. Now she had given directions to her younger sister 
saying to her. When I have gone to the King, I will send to request thee 
to come; and when thou comest to me, and seest a convenient time, do 
thou say to me, O my sister, relate to me some strange story to beguile 
our waking hour: — and I will relate to thee a story that shall, if it be the 
will of God, be the means of procuring deliverance. 

Her father, the Wezir, then took her to the King, who, when he 
saw him, was rejoiced, and said. Hast thou brought me what I desired? 
He answered Yes. When the King, therefore, introduced himself to her, 
she wept; and he said to her, What aileth thee? She answered, O King, 
I have a young sister, and I wish to take leave of her. So the King sent 
to her; and she came to her sister, and embraced her, and sat near the 
foot of the bed; and after she had waited for a proper opportunity, she 
said. By Allah! O my sister, relate to us a story to beguile the waking 
hour of our night. Most willingly, answered Shahrazad, if this virtuous 
King permit me. And the King, hearing these words, and being rest- 
less, was pleased with the idea of listening to the story; and thus, on the 
first night of the thousand and one, Shahrazad commenced her recita- 


[Nights /-j] 
The Story of the Merchant and the Jinni 

IT has been related to me, O happy King, said Shahrazad, that 
there was a certain merchant who had great wealth, and traded 
extensively with surrounding countries; and one day he 
mounted his horse, and journeyed to a neighbouring country to col- 
lect what was due to him, and, the heat oppressing him, he sat under 
a tree, in a garden, and put his hand into his saddle-bag, and ate a 
morsel o£ bread and a date which were among his provisions. Hav- 
ing eaten the date, he threw aside the stone, and immediately there 
appeared before him an *E£rit, of enormous height, who, holding a 
drawn sword in his hand, approached him, and said. Rise, that I 
may kill thee, as thou hast killed my son. The merchant asked him, 
How have I killed thy son? He answered, When thou atest the date, 
and threwest aside the stone, it struck my son upon the chest, and, 
as fate had decreed against him, he instantly died. 

The merchant, on hearing these words, exclaimed, Verily to God 
we belong, and verily to Him we must return! There is no strength 
nor power but in God, the High, the Great! If I killed him, I did 
it not intentionally, but without knowing it; and I trust in thee that 
thou wilt pardon me. — The Jinni answered, Thy death is indis- 
pensable, as thou hast killed my son: — and so saying, he dragged 
him, and threw him on the ground, and raised his arm to strike him 
with the sword. The merchant, upon this, wept bitterly, and said to 
the Jinni, I commit my affair unto God, for no one can avoid what 
He hath decreed : — and he continued his lamentation, repeating the 
following verses : — 



Time consists of two days; this, bright; and that, gloomy; and Hfe, of 

two moieties; this, safe; and that, fearful. 
Say to him who hath taunted us on account of misfortunes, Doth fortune 

oppose any but the eminent? 
Dost thou observe that corpses float upon the sea, while the precious 

pearls remain in its furthest depths? 
When the hands of time play with us, misfortune is imparted to us by 

its protracted kiss. 
In the heaven are stars that cannot be numbered; but none is eclipsed 

save the sun and the moon. 
How many green and dry trees are on the earth; but none is assailed 

with stones save that which beareth fruit! 
Thou thoughtest well of the days when they went well with thee, and 

fearedst not the evil that destiny was bringing. 

— When he had finished reciting these verses, the Jinni said to him, 
Spare thy words, for thy death is unavoidable. 

Then said the merchant, Knov^, O 'Efrit, that I have debts to pay, 
and I have much property, and children, and a w^ife, and I have 
pledges also in my possession : let me, therefore, go back to my house, 
and give to every one his due, and then I will return to thee: I bind 
myself by a vow and covenant that I will return to thee, and thou 
shalt do what thou wilt; and God is witness of what I say. — Upon 
this, the Jinni accepted his covenant, and liberated him; granting 
him a respite until the expiration of the year. 

The merchant, therefore, returned to his town, accomplished all 
that was upon his mind to do, paid every one what he owed him,, 
and informed his wife and children of the event which had befallen 
him; upon hearing which, they and all his family and women wept. 
He appointed a guardian over his children, and remained with his 
family until the end of the year; when he took his grave-clothes 
under his arm, bade farewell to his household and neighbours, and 
all his relations, and went forth, in spite of himself; his family rais- 
ing cries of lamentation, and shrieking. 

He proceeded until he arrived at the garden before mentioned; 
and it was the first day of the new year; and as he sat, weeping for 
the calamity which he expected soon to befall him, a sheykh, ad- 
vanced in years, approached him, leading a gazelle with a chain 
attached to its neck. This sheykh saluted the merchant, wishing him 
a long life, and said to him. What is the reason of thy sitting alone in 
this place, seeing that it is a resort of the Jinn? The merchant there- 


fore informed him of what had befallen him with the *Efrit, and of 
the cause of his sitting there; at which the sheykh, the owner of the 
gazelle, was astonished, and said, By Allah, O my brother, thy faith- 
fulness is great, and thy story is wonderful! if it were engraved upon 
the intellect, it would be a lesson to him who would be admonished! 
— And he sat down by his side, and said. By Allah, O my brother, 
I will not quit this place until I see what will happen unto thee with 
this *Efrit. So he sat down, and conversed with him. And the mer- 
chant became almost senseless; fear entered him, and terror, and 
violent grief, and excessive anxiety. And as the owner of the gazelle 
sat by his side, lo, a second sheykh approached them, with two black 
hounds, and inquired of them, after saluting them, the reason of 
their sitting in that place, seeing that it was a resort of the Jann: 
and they told him the story from beginning to end. And he had 
hardly sat down when there approached them a third sheykh, with 
a dapple mule; and he asked them the same question, which was 
answered in the same manner. 

Immediately after, the dust was agitated, and became an enormous 
revolving pillar, approaching them from the midst of the desert; and 
this dust subsided, and behold, the Jinni, with a drawn sword in his 
hand; his eyes casting forth sparks of fire. He came to them, and 
dragged from them the merchant, and said to him. Rise, that I may 
kill thee, as thou killedst my son, the vital spirit of my heart. And 
the merchant wailed and wept; and the three sheykhs also mani- 
fested their sorrow by weeping and crying aloud and wailing: but 
the first sheykh, who was the owner of the gazelle, recovering his 
self-possession, kissed the hand of the 'Efrit, and said to him, O thou 
Jinni, and crown of the kings of the Jann, if I relate to thee the story 
of myself and this gazelle, and thou find it to be wonderful, and 
more so than the adventure of this merchant, wilt thou give up to 
me a third of thy claim to his blood? He answered. Yes, O sheykh; 
if thou relate to me the story, and I find it to be as thou hast said, I 
will give up to thee a third of my claim to his blood. 

The Story of the First Sheykh and the Gazelle 

Then said the sheykh. Know, O 'Efrit, that this gazelle is the 
daughter of my paternal uncle, and she is of my flesh and my blood. 


I took her as my wife when she was young, and Uved with her about 
thirty years; but I was not blessed with a child by her; so I took to 
me a concubine slave, and by her I was blessed with a male child, 
like the rising full moon, with beautiful eyes, and delicately-shaped 
eyebrows, and perfectly-formed limbs; and he grew up by little and 
little until he attained the age of fifteen years. At this period, I un- 
expectedly had occasion to journey to a certain city, and went 
thither with a great stock of merchandise. 

Now my cousin, this gazelle, had studied enchantment and 
divination from her early years; and during my absence, she trans- 
formed the youth above mentioned into a calf; and his mother, into 
a cow; and committed them to the care of the herdsman: and when 
I returned, after a long time, from my journey, I asked after my son 
and his mother, and she said. Thy slave is dead, and thy son hath 
fled, and I know not whither he is gone. After hearing this, I 
remained for the space of a year with mourning heart and weeping 
eye, until the Festival of the Sacrifice;^ when I sent to the herds- 
man, and ordered him to choose for me a fat cow; and he brought 
me one, and it was my concubine, whom this gazelle had enchanted. 
I tucked up my skirts and sleeves, and took the knife in my hand, 
and prepared myself to slaughter her; upon which she moaned and 
cried so violently that I left her, and ordered the herdsman to kill 
and skin her: and he did so, but found in her neither fat nor flesh, 
nor anything but skin and bone; and I repented of slaughtering her, 
when repentance was of no avail. I therefore gave her to the herds- 
man, and said to him. Bring me a fat calf: and he brought me my 
son, who was transformed into a calf. And when the calf saw me, 
he broke his rope, and came to me, and fawned upon me, and wailed 
and cried, so that I was moved with pity for him; and I said to the 
herdsman. Bring me a cow, and let this — 

Here Shahrazad perceived the light of morning, and discontinued 
the recitation with which she had been allowed thus far to proceed. 
Her sister said to her, How excellent is thy story! and how pretty! 
and how pleasant! and how sweet! — but she answered. What is this 
in comparison with that which I will relate to thee in the next night, 

^The Grest Festival, commencing on the loth of Dhu-1-Hijjeh, when the pilgrims, 
halting on their return from mount 'Arafat to Mekkeh, in the valley of Mine, perform 
their sacrifice. 


if I live, and the King spare me! And the King said, By Allah, I 
will not kill her until I hear the remainder of her story. Thus they 
pleasantly passed the night until the morning, when the King went 
forth to his hall of judgment, and the Wezir went thither with the 
grave-clothes under his arm: and the King gave judgment, and 
invested and displaced, until the close of the day, without informing 
the Wezir of that which had happened; and the minister was greatly 
astonished. The court was then dissolved; and the King returned 
to the privacy of his palace. 

[On the second and each succeeding night, Shahrazad continued 
so to interest King Shahriyar by her stories as to induce him to defer 
putting her to death, in expectation that her fund of amusing tales 
would soon be exhausted; and as this is expressed in the original 
work in nearly the same words at the close of every night, such 
repetitions will in the present translation be omitted.] 

When the sheykh, continued Shahrazad, observed the tears of the 
calf, his heart sympathized with him, and he said to the herdsman. 
Let this calf remain with the cattle. — Meanwhile, the Jinni won- 
dered at this strange story; and the owner of the gazelle thus pro- 

O lord of the kings of the Jann, while this happened, my cousin, 
this gazelle, looked on, and said. Slaughter this calf; for he is fat: 
but I could not do it; so I ordered the herdsman to take him back; 
and he took him and went away. And as I was sitting, on the follow- 
ing day, he came to me, and said, O my master, I have to tell thee 
something that thou wilt be rejoiced to hear; and a reward is due to 
me for bringing good news. I answered. Well: — and he said, O mer. 
chant, I have a daughter who learned enchantment in her youth 
from an old woman in our family; and yesterday, when thou gavest 
me the calf, I took him to her, and she looked at him, and covered 
her face, and wept, and then laughed, and said, O my father, hath 
my condition become so degraded in thy opinion that thou bringest 
before me strange men? — Where, said I, are any strange men? and 
wherefore didst thou weep and laugh ? She answered. This calf that 
is with thee is the son of our master, the merchant, and the wife of 
our master hath enchanted both him and his mother; and this was 
the reason of my laughter; but as to the reason of my weeping, it 


was on account o£ his mother, because his father had slaughtered 
her. — And I was excessively astonished at this; and scarcely was I 
certain that the light of morning had appeared when I hastened to 
inform thee. 

When I heard, O Jinni, the words of the herdsman, I went forth 
with him, intoxicated without wine, from the excessive joy and 
happiness that I received, and arrived at his house, where his 
daughter welcomed me, and kissed my hand; and the calf came to 
me, and fawned upon me. And I said to the herdsman's daughter, 
Is that true which thou hast said respecting this calf? She answered. 
Yes, O my master; he is verily thy son, and the vital spirit of thy 
heart. — O maiden, said I, if thou wilt restore him, all the cattle and 
other property of mine that thy father hath under his care shall be 
thine. Upon this, she smiled, and said, O my master, I have no 
desire for the property unless on two conditions: the first is, that 
thou shalt marry me to him; and the second, that I shall enchant 
her who enchanted him, and so restrain her; otherwise, I shall not 
be secure from her artifice. On hearing, O Jinni, these her words, I 
said. And thou shalt have all the property that is under the care of 
thy father besides; and as to my cousin, even her blood shall be 
lawful to thee. So, when she heard this, she took a cup, and filled 
it with water, and repeated a spell over it, and sprinkled with it the 
calf, saying to him, If God created thee a calf, remain in this form, 
and be not changed; but if thou be enchanted, return to thy original 
form, by permission of God, whose name be exalted! — upon which 
he shook, and became a man; and I threw myself upon him, and 
said, I conjure thee by Allah that thou relate to me all that my cousin 
did to thee and to thy mother. So he related to me all that had hap- 
pened to them both; and I said to him, O my son, God hath given 
thee one to liberate thee, and to avenge thee : — and I married to him, 
O Jinni, the herdsman's daughter; after which, she transformed my 
cousin into this gazelle. And as I happened to pass this way, I saw 
this merchant, and asked him what had happened to him; and when 
he had informed me, I sat down to see the result. — This is my story. 
The Jinni said, This is a wonderful tale; and I give up to thee a 
third of my claim to his blood. 

The second sheykh, the owner of the two hounds, then advanced, 


and said to the Jinni, I£ I relate to thee the story of myself and these 
hounds, and thou find it to be in like manner wonderful, wilt thou 
remit to me, also, a third of thy claim to the blood of this merchant ? 
The Jinni answered, Yes. 

The Story of the Second Sheykh 


Then said the sheykh. Know, O lord of the kings of the Jann, that 
these two hounds are my brothers. My father died, and left to us 
three thousand pieces of gold;^ and I opened a shop to sell and buy. 
But one of my brothers made a journey, with a stock of merchandise, 
and was absent from us for the space of a year with the caravans; 
after which, he returned destitute. I said to him. Did I not advise 
thee to abstain from travelling? But he wept, and said, O my 
brother, God, to whom be ascribed all might and glory, decreed this 
event; and there is no longer any profit in these words: I have noth- 
ing left. So I took him up into the shop, and then went with him 
to the bath, and clad him in a costly suit of my own clothing; after 
which, we sat down together to eat; and I said to him, O my 
brother, I will calculate the gain of my shop during the year, and 
divide it, exclusive of the principal, between me and thee. Accord- 
ingly, I made the calculations, and found my gain to amount to two 
thousand pieces of gold; and I praised God, to whom be ascribed 
all might and glory, and rejoiced exceedingly, and divided the gain 
in two equal parts between myself and him. — My other brother then 
set forth on a journey; and after a year, returned in the like condi- 
tion; and I did unto him as I had done to the former. 

After this, when we had lived together for some time, my brothers 

again wished to travel, and were desirous that I should accompany 

them; but I would not. What, said I, have ye gained in your travels, 

that I should expect to gain? They importuned me; but I would not 

comply with their request; and we remained selling and buying in 

ML our shops a whole year. Still, however, they persevered in proposing 

m^ that we should travel, and I still refused, until after the lapse of six 

^■entire years, when at last I consented, and said to them, O my 



brothers, let us calculate what property we possess. We did so, and 
found it to be six thousand pieces of gold : and I then said to them, 
We will bury half of it in the earth, that it may be of service to us 
if any misfortune befall us, in which case each of us shall take a 
thousand pieces, with which to traffic. Excellent is thy advice, said 
they. So I took the money and divided it into two equal portions, 
and buried three thousand pieces of gold; and of the other half, I 
gave to each of them a thousand pieces. We then prepared merchan- 
dise, and hired a ship, and embarked our goods, and proceeded on 
our voyage for the space of a whole month, at the expiration of 
which we arrived at a city, where we sold our merchandise; and for 
every piece of gold we gained ten. 

And when we were about to set sail again, we found, on the shore 
of the sea, a maiden clad in tattered garments, who kissed my hand, 
and said to me, O my master, art thou possessed of charity and kind- 
ness? If so, I will requite thee for them. I answered. Yes, I have 
those qualities, though thou requite me not. Then said she, O my 
master, accept me as thy wife, and take me to thy country; for I 
give myself to thee: act kindly towards me; for I am one who re- 
quires to be treated with kindness and charity, and who will requite 
thee for so doing; and let not my present condition at all deceive 
thee. When I heard these words, my heart was moved with tender- 
ness towards her, in order to the accomplishment of a purpose of 
God, to whom be ascribed all might and glory; and I took her, and 
clothed her, and furnished for her a place in the ship in a handsome 
manner, and regarded her with kind and respectful attention. 

We then set sail; and I became most cordially attached to my wife, 
so that, on her account, I neglected the society of my brothers, who, 
in consequence, became jealous of me, and likewise envied me my 
wealth, and the abundance of my merchandise; casting the eyes of 
covetousness upon the whole of the property. They therefore con- 
sulted together to kill me, and take my wealth; saying, Let us kill 
our brother, and all the property shall be ours : — and the devil made 
these actions to seem fair in their eyes; so they came to me while I 
was sleeping by the side of my wife, and took both of us up, and 
threw us into the sea. But as soon as my wife awoke, she shook 
herself, and became transformed into a Jinniyeh. She immediately 


bore me away, and placed me upon an island, and, for a while, dis- 
appeared. In the morning, however, she returned, and said to me, 
I am thy wife, who carried thee, and rescued thee from death, by 
permission of God, whose name be exalted. Know that I am a 
Jinniyeh: I saw thee, and my heart loved thee for the sake of God; 
for I am a believer in God and his Apostle, God bless and save him! 
I came to thee in the condition in which thou sawest me, and thou 
didst marry me; and see, I have rescued thee from drowning. But I 
am incensed against thy brothers, and I must kill them. — When I 
heard her tale, I was astonished, and thanked her for what she had 
done; — But, said I, as to the destruction of my brothers, it is not what 
I desire. I then related to her all that happened between myself and 
them from first to last; and when she had heard it, she said, I will, 
this next night, fly to them, and sink their ship, and destroy them. 
But I said, I conjure thee by Allah that thou do it not; for the 
author of the proverb saith, O thou benefactor of him who hath 
done evil, the action that he hath done is sufficient for him: — ^be- 
sides, they are at all events my brothers. She still, however, said. 
They must be killed; — and I continued to propitiate her towards 
them: and at last she lifted me up, and soared through the air, and 
placed me on the roof of my house. 

Having opened the doors, I dug up what I had hidden in the 
earth; and after I had saluted my neighbours, and bought merchan- 
dise, I opened my shop. And in the following night, when I entered 
my house, I found these two dogs tied up in it; and as soon as they 
saw me, they came to me, and wept, and clung to me; but I knew 
not what had happened until immediately my wife appeared before 
me, and said. These are thy brothers. And who, said I, hath done 
this unto them? She answered, I sent to my sister, and she did it; 
and they shall not be restored until after the lapse of ten years. And 
I was now on my way to her, that she might restore them, as they 
have been in this state ten years, when I saw this man, and, being 
informed of what had befallen him, I determined not to quit the 
place until I should have seen what would happen between thee and 
him. — This is my story. — ^Verily, said the Jinni, it is a wonderful 
tale; and I give up to thee a third of the claim that I had to his blood 
on account of his offence. 


Upon this, the third sheykh, the owner o£ the mule, said to the 
Jinni, As to me, break not my heart if I relate to thee nothing more 
than this: — 

The Story of the Third Sheykh and the Mule 

The mule that thou seest was my wife : she became enamoured of 
a black slave; and when I discovered her with him, she took a mug 
of water, and, having uttered a spell over it, sprinkled me, and 
transformed me into a dog. In this state, I ran to the shop of a 
butcher, whose daughter saw me, and being skilled in enchantment, 
restored me to my original form, and instructed me to enchant my 
wife in the manner thou beholdest. — And now I hope that thou wilt 
remit to me also a third of the merchant's offence. Divinely was he 
gifted who said. 

Sow good, even on an unworthy soil; for it will not be lost wherever 
it is sown. 

When the sheykh had thus finished his story, the Jinni shook with 
delight, and remitted the remaining third of his claim to the mer- 
chant's blood. The merchant then approached the sheykhs, and 
thanked them, and they congratulated him on his safety; and each 
went his way. 

But this, said Shahrazad, is not more wonderful than the story of 
the fisherman. The King asked her. And what is the story of the 
fisherman? And she related it as follows: — 

[Nights j-p] 
The Story of the Fisherman 

THERE was a certain fisherman, advanced in age, who had 
a wife and three children; and though he was in indigent 
circumstances, it was his custom to cast his net, every day, 
no more than four times. One day he went forth at the hour of noon 
to the shore of the sea, and put down his basket, and cast his net, 
and waited until it was motionless in the water, when he drew 
together its strings, and found it to be heavy: he pulled, but could 
not draw it up : so he took the end of the cord, and knocked a stake 
into the shore, and tied the cord to it. He then stripped himself, 
and dived round the net, and continued to pull until he drew it out: 
whereupon he rejoiced, and put on his clothes; but when he came 
to examine the net, he found in it the carcass of an ass. At the sight 
of this he mourned, and exclaimed. There is no strength nor power 
but in God, the High, the Great! This is a strange piece of fortune! 
— And he repeated the following verse : — 

O thou who occupiest thyself in the darkness of night, and in peril! 
Spare thy trouble; for the support of Providence is not obtained by toil! 

He then disencumbered his net of the dead ass, and wrung it out; 
after which he spread it, and descended into the sea, and — exclaim- 
ing. In the name of God! — cast it again, and waited till it had sunk 
and was still, when he pulled it, and found it more heavy and more 
difficult to raise than on the former occasion. He therefore concluded 
that it was full of fish : so he tied it, and stripped, and plunged and 
dived, and pulled until he raised it, and drew it upon the shore; 
when he found in it only a large jar, full of sand and mud; on seeing 
which, he was troubled in his heart, and repeated the following 
words of the poet : — 

O angry fate, forbear! or, if thou wilt not forbear, relent! 
Neither favour from fortune do I gain, nor profit from the work of my 



I came forth to seek my sustenance, but have found it to be exhausted. 
How many of the ignorant are in splendor! and how many of the wise, 
in obscurity! 

So saying, he threw aside the jar, and wrung out and cleansed his 
net; and, begging the forgiveness of God for his impatience, returned 
to the sea the third time, and threw the net, and waited till it had 
sunk and was motionless: he then drew it out, and found in it a 
quantity of broken jars and pots. 

Upon this, he raised his head towards heaven, and said, O God, 
Thou knowest that I cast not my net more than four times; and I 
have now cast it three times! Then — exclaiming. In the name of 
God! — he cast the net again into the sea, and waited till it was still; 
when he attempted to draw it up, but could not, for it clung to the 
bottom. And he exclaimed. There is no strength nor power but in 
God! — and he stripped himself again, and dived round the net, and 
pulled until he raised it upon the shore; when he opened it, and 
found in it a bottle of brass, filled with something, and having its 
mouth closed with a stopper of lead, bearing the impression of the 
seal of our lord Suleyman.^ At the sight of this, the fisherman was 
rejoiced, and said, This I will sell in the copper-market; for it is 
worth ten pieces of gold. He then shook it, and found it to be 
heavy, and said, I must open it, and see what is in it, and store it 
in my bag; and then I will sell the bottle in the copper-market. So 
he took out a knife, and picked at the lead until he extracted it from 
the bottle. He then laid the bottle on the ground, and shook it, that 
its contents might pour out; but there came forth from it nothing 
but smoke, which ascended towards the sky, and spread over the 

^ No man ever obtained such absolute power over the Jinn as Suleyman Ibn-Da'ud 
(Solomon, the Son of David). This he did by virtue of a most wonderful talisman, 
which is said to have come down to him from heaven. It was a seal-ring, upon which 
was engraved "the most great name" of God; and partly composed of brass, and 
partly of iron. With the brass he stamped his written commands to the good Jinn; 
with the iron [which they greatly dread], those to the evil Jinn, or Devils. Over 
both orders he had unlimited power; as well as over the birds and the winds, and, as 
is generally said, the wild beasts. His Wezir, Asaf the son of Barkhiya, is also said 
to have been acquainted with "the most great name," by uttering which the greatest 
miracles may be performed; even that of raising the dead. By virtue of this name, 
engraved on his ring, Suleyman compelled the Jinn to assist in building the Temple 
of Jerusalem, and in various other works. Many of the evil Jinn he converted to the 
true faith; and many others of this class, who remained obstinate in infidelity, he 
confined in prisons. 


face of the earth; at which he wondered excessively. And after a 
Httle while, the smoke collected together, and was condensed, and 
then became agitated, and was converted into an 'Efrit, whose head 
was in the clouds, while his feet rested upon the ground: his head 
was like a dome: his hands were like winnowing forks; and his legs, 
like masts: his mouth resembled a cavern: his teeth were like stones; 
his nostrils, like trumpets; and his eyes, like lamps; and he had 
dishevelled and dust-coloured hair. 

When the fisherman beheld this 'Efrit, the muscles of his sides 
quivered, his teeth were locked together, his spittle dried up, and 
he saw not his way. The 'Efrit, as soon as he perceived him, 
exclaimed. There is no deity but God; Suleyman is the Prophet of 
God. O Prophet of God, slay me not; for I will never again oppose 
thee in word, or rebel against thee in deed! — O Marid, said the fisher- 
man, dost thou say, Suleyman is the Prophet of God? Suleyman 
hath been dead a thousand and eight hundred years; and we are now 
in the end of time. What is thy history, and what is thy tale, and 
what was the cause of thy entering this bottle? When the Marid 
heard these words of the fisherman, he said. There is no deity but 
God! Receive news, O fisherman! — Of what, said the fisherman, 
dost thou give me news ? He answered. Of thy being instantly put 
to a most cruel death. The fisherman exclaimed. Thou deservest, 
for this news, O master of the 'Efrits, the withdrawal of protection 
from thee, O thou remote!^ Wherefore wouldst thou kill me? and 
what requires thy killing me, when I have liberated thee from the 
bottle, and rescued thee from the bottom of the sea, and brought 
thee up upon the dry land? — The 'Efrit answered. Choose what 
kind of death thou wilt die, and in what manner thou shalt be 
killed. — What is my offence, said the fisherman, that this should be 
my recompense from thee? The 'Efrit replied. Hear my story, O 
fisherman. — Tell it then, said the fisherman, and be short in thy 
words; for my soul hath sunk down to my feet. 

Know then, said he, that I am one of the heretical Jinn : I rebelled 
against Suleyman the son of Da'ud; I and Sakhr the Jinni; and he 
sent to me his Wezir, Asaf the son of Barkhiya, who came upon me 
forcibly, and took me to him in bonds, and placed me before him: 

2 [Implying a malediction, but excepting bystanders.] 


and when Suleyman saw me, he offered up a prayer for protection 
against me, and exhorted me to embrace the faith, and to submit to 
his authority; but I refused; upon which he called for this bottle, 
and confined me in it, and closed it upon me with the leaden stopper, 
which he stamped with the Most Great Name: he then gave orders 
to the Jinn, who carried me away, and threw me into the midst of 
the sea. There I remained a hundred years; and I said in my heart, 
Whosoever shall liberate me, I shall enrich him for ever: — ^but the 
hundred years passed over me, and no one liberated me: and I 
entered upon another hundred years; and I said, Whosoever shall 
liberate me, I will open to him the treasures of the earth; — ^but no 
one did so: and four hundred years more passed over me, and I 
said. Whosoever shall liberate me, I will perform for him three 
wants : — but still no one liberated me. I then fell into a violent rage, 
and said within myself. Whosoever shall liberate me now, I will 
kill him; and only suffer him to choose in what manner he will die. 
And lo, now thou hast liberated me, and I have given thee thy 
choice of the manner in which thou wilt die. 

When the fisherman had heard the story of the 'Efrit, he ex- 
claimed, O Allah! that I should not have liberated thee but in such 
a time as this! Then said he to the 'Efrit, Pardon me, and kill me 
not, and so may God pardon thee; and destroy me not, lest God 
give power over thee to one who will destroy thee. The Marid 
answered, I must positively kill thee; therefore choose by what man- 
ner of death thou wilt die. The fisherman then felt assured of his 
death; but he again implored the 'Efrit, saying, Pardon me by way 
of gratitude for my liberating thee. — Why, answered the 'Efrit, I 
am not going to kill thee but for that very reason, because thou hast 
liberated me. — O Sheykh of the 'Efrits, said the fisherman, do I act 
kindly towards thee, and dost thou recompense me with baseness? 
But the proverb lieth not that saith, — 

We did good to them, and they returned us the contrary; and such, by 

my life, is the conduct of the wicked. 
Thus he who acteth kindly to the undeserving is recompensed in the 

same manner as the aider of Umm-*Amir.^ 
3 The hyena. 


The 'Efrit, when he heard these words, answered by saying, Covet 
not hfe, for thy death is unavoidable. Then said the fisherman within 
himself, This is a Jinni, and I am a man; and God hath given me 
sound reason; therefore, I will now plot his destruction with my art 
and reason, like as he hath plotted with his cunning and perfidy. 
So he said to the 'Efrit, Hast thou determined to kill me? He 
answered, Yes. Then said he. By the Most Great Name engraved 
upon the seal of Suleyman, I will ask thee one question; and wilt 
thou answer it to me truly? On hearing the mention of the Most 
Great Name, the 'Efrit was agitated, and trembled, and replied, 
Yes; ask, and be brief. The fisherman then said. How wast thou in 
this bottle? It will not contain thy hand or thy foot; how then can 
it contain thy whole body? — Dost thou not believe that I was in it? 
said the 'Efrit. The fisherman answered, I will never believe thee 
until I see thee in it. Upon this, the 'Efrit shook, and became con- 
verted into smoke, which rose to the sky and then became con- 
densed, and entered the bottle by little and little, until it was all 
enclosed; when the fisherman hastily snatched the sealed leaden 
stopper, and, having replaced it in the mouth of the bottle, called out 
to the 'Efrit, and said, Choose in what manner of death thou wilt 
die. I will assuredly throw thee here into the sea, and build me a 
house on this spot; and whosoever shall come here, I will prevent 
his fishing in this place, and will say to him, Here is an 'Efrit, who 
to any person that liberates him, will propose various kinds of death, 
and then give him his choice of one of them. On hearing these 
words of the fisherman, the 'Efrit endeavoured to escape; but could 
not, finding himself restrained by the impression of the seal of 
Suleyman, and thus imprisoned by the fisherman as the vilest and 
filthiest and least of 'Efrits. The fisherman then took the bottle to 
the brink of the sea. The 'Efrit exclaimed, Nay! nay! — to which the 
fisherman answered. Yea, without fail! yea, without fail! The 
Marid then addressing him with a soft voice and humble manner, 
said. What dost thou intend to do with me, O fisherman? He 
answered, I will throw thee into the sea; and if thou hast been there 
a thousand and eight hundred years, I will make thee to remain 
there until the hour of judgment. Did I not say to thee. Spare me, 


and so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy 
thee? But thou didst reject my petition, and wouldst nothing but 
treachery; therefore God hath caused thee to fall into my hand, and 
I have betrayed thee. — Open to me, said the 'Efrit, that I may confer 
benefits upon thee. The fisherman replied. Thou liest, thou accursed! 
I and thou are like the Wezir of King Yunan and the sage Duban. 
— What, said the *Efrit, was the case of the Wezir Yunan and the 
sage Duban, and what is their story? The fisherman answered as 
follows : — 

The Story of King Yunan and the Sage Duban 

Know, O *Efrit, that there was, in former times, in the country 
of the Persians, a monarch who was called King Yunan, possessing 
great treasures and numerous forces, valiant, and having troops of 
every description; but he was afflicted with leprosy, which the physi- 
cians and sages had failed to remove; neither their potions, nor 
powders, nor ointments were of any benefit to him; and none of the 
physicians was able to cure him. At length there arrived at the city 
of this king a great sage, stricken in years, who was called the sage 
Duban: he was acquainted with ancient Greek, Persian, modern 
Greek, Arabic, and Syriac books, and with medicine and astrology, 
both with respect to their scientific principles and the rules of their 
practical applications for good and evil; as well as the properties of 
plants, dried and fresh; the injurious and the useful: he was versed 
in the wisdom of the philosophers, and embraced a knowledge of all 
the medical and other sciences. 

After this sage had arrived in the city, and remained in it a few 
days, he heard of the case of the King, of the leprosy with which 
God had afflicted him, and that the physicians and men of science 
had failed to cure him. In consequence of this information, he 
passed the next night in deep study; and when the morning came, 
and diffused its light, and the sun saluted the Ornament of the 
Good,^ he attired himself in the richest of his apparel, and presented 
himself before the King. Having kissed the ground before him, and 
ofiFered up a prayer for the continuance of his power and happiness, 
and greeted him in the best manner he was able, he informed him 

* The Prophet Mohammad, who said "the sun never riseth until it hath saluted me." 


who he was, and said, O King, I have heard o£ the disease which 
hath attacked thy person, and that many of the physicians are un- 
acquainted with the means of removing it; and I will cure thee with- 
out giving thee to drink any potion, or anointing thee with ointment. 
When King Yunan heard his words, he wondered, and said to him, 
How wilt thou do this? By Allah, if thou cure me, I will enrich 
thee and thy children's children, and I will heap favours upon thee, 
and whatever thou shalt desire shall be thine, and thou shalt be my 
companion and my friend. — He then bestowed upon him a robe of 
honour, and other presents, and said to him. Wilt thou cure me of 
this disease without potion or ointment? He answered. Yes; I will 
cure thee without any discomfort to thy person. And the King was 
extremely astonished, and said, O Sage, at what time, and on what 
day, shall that which thou hast proposed to me be done ? Hasten it, 
O my Son. — He answered, I hear and obey. 

He then went out from the presence of the King, and hired a 
house, in which he deposited his books, and medicines, and drugs. 
Having done this, he selected certain of his medicines and drugs, 
and made a goff-stick, with a hollow handle, into which he intro- 
duced them; after which he made a ball for it, skilfully adapted; 
and on the following day, after he had finished these, he went again 
to the King, and kissed the ground before him, and directed him 
to repair to the horse-course, and to play with the ball and goff- 
stick. The King, attended by his Emirs and Chamberlains and 
Wezirs, went thither, and, as soon as he arrived there, the sage 
Duban presented himself before him, and handed to him the goff- 
stick, saying. Take this goff-stick, and grasp it thus, and ride along 
the horse-course, and strike the ball with it with all thy force, until 
the palm of thy hand and thy whole body become moist with per- 
spiration, when the medicine will penetrate into thy hand, and per- 
vade thy whole body; and when thou hast done this, and the medi- 
cine remains in thee, return to thy palace, and enter the bath, and 
wash thyself, and sleep; then shalt thou find thyself cured: and 
peace be on thee. So King Yunan took the goff-stick from the sage, 
and grasped it in his hand, and mounted his horse; and the ball was 
thrown before him, and he urged his horse after it until he over- 
took it, when he struck it with all his force; and when he had con- 


tinued this exercise as long as was necessary, and bathed and slept, 
he looked upon his skin, and not a vestige of the leprosy remained : 
it was clear as white silver. Upon this he rejoiced exceedingly; his 
heart was dilated, and he was full of happiness. 

On the following morning he entered the council-chamber, and 
sat upon his throne; and the Chamberlains and great officers of his 
court came before him. The sage Duban also presented himself; 
and when the King saw him, he rose to him in haste, and seated him 
by his side. Services of food were then spread before them, and the 
sage ate with the King, and remained as his guest all the day; and 
when the night approached, the King gave him two thousand pieces 
of gold, besides dresses of honour and other presents, and mounted 
him on his own horse, and so the sage returned to his house. And 
the King was astonished at his skill; saying. This man hath cured 
me by an external process, without anointing me with ointment: 
by Allah, this is consummate science; and it is incumbent on me to 
bestow favours and honours upon him, and to make him my com- 
panion and familiar friend as long as I live. He passed the night 
happy and joyful on account of his recovery, and when he arose, 
he went forth again, and sat upon his throne; the officers of his court 
standing before him, and the Emirs and Wezirs sitting on his right 
hand and on his left; and he called for the sage Duban, who came, 
and kissed the ground before him; and the king rose, and seated 
him by his side, and ate with him, and greeted him with compli- 
ments: he bestowed upon him again a robe of honour and other 
presents, and after conversing with him till the approach of night, 
gave orders that five other robes of honour should be given to him, 
and a thousand pieces of gold; and the sage departed, and returned 
to his house. 

Again, when the next morning came, the King went as usual to 
his council-chamber, and the Emirs and Wezirs and Chamberlains 
surrounded him. Now there was, among his Wezirs, one of ill 
aspect, and of evil star; sordid, avaricious, and of an envious and 
malicious disposition; and when he saw that the King had made 
the sage Duban his friend, and bestowed upon him these favours, 
he envied him his distinction, and meditated evil against him; 
agreeably with the adage which saith. There is no one void of envy; 


— and another, which saith, Tyranny lurketh in the soul: power 
manifesteth it, and weakness concealeth it. So he approached the 
King, and kissed the ground before him, and said, O King of the 
age, thou art he whose goodness extendeth to all men, and I have 
an important piece of advice to give thee: if I were to conceal it 
from thee, I should be a base-born wretch: therefore, if thou order 
me to impart it, I will do so. The King, disturbed by these words of 
the Wezir, said. What is thy advice? He answered, O glorious 
King, it hath been said, by the ancients. He who looketh not to 
results, fortune will not attend him: — now I have seen the King in 
a way that is not right; since he hath bestowed favours upon his 
enemy, and upon him who desireth the downfall of his dominion: 
he hath treated him with kindness, and honoured him with the 
highest honours, and admitted him to the closest intimacy: I there- 
fore fear, for the King, the consequence of this conduct. — At this 
the King was troubled and his countenance changed; and he said. 
Who is he whom thou regardest as mine enemy, and to whom I 
shew kindness? He replied, O King, if thou hast been asleep, 
awake! I allude to the sage Duban. — The King said. He is my 
intimate companion, and the dearest of men in my estimation; for 
he restored me by a thing that I merely held in my hand, and cured 
me of my disease which the physicians were unable to remove, and 
there is not now to be found one like to him in the whole world, 
from west to east. Wherefore, then, dost thou utter these words 
against him ? I will, from this day, appoint him a regular salary and 
maintenance, and give him every month a thousand pieces of gold; 
and if I give him a share of my kingdom it were but a small thing 
to do unto him. I do not think that thou hast said this from any 
other motive than that of envy. If I didst what thou desirest, I 
should repent after it, as the man repented who killed his parrot. 

The Story of the Husband and the Parrot 

There was a certain merchant, of an exceedingly jealous disposi- 
tion, having a wife endowed with perfect beauty, who had pre- 
vented him from leaving his home; but an event happened which 
obliged him to make a journey; and when he found his doing so 


to be indispensable, he went to the market in which birds were 
sold, and bought a parrot, which he placed in his house to act as a 
spy, that, on his return, she might inform him of what passed during 
his absence; for this parrot was cunning and intelligent, and remem- 
bered whatever she heard. So, when he had made his journey, and 
accomplished his business, he returned, and caused the parrot to be 
brought to him, and asked her respecting the conduct of his wife. 
She answered, Thy wife has a lover, who visited her every night 
during thy absence, — and when the man heard this, he fell into a 
violent rage, and went to his wife, and gave her a severe beating. 

The woman imagined that one of the female slaves had informed 
him of what had passed between her and her paramour during his 
absence: she therefore called them together, and made them swear; 
and they all swore that they had not told their master anything of 
the matter; but confessed that they had heard the parrot relate to 
him what had passed. Having thus established, on the testimony of 
the slaves, the fact of the parrot's having informed her husband of 
her intrigue, she ordered one of these slaves to grind with a hand- 
mill under the cage, another to sprinkle water from above, and a 
third to move a mirror from side to side, during the next night on 
which her husband was absent; and on the following morning, 
when the man returned from an entertainment at which he had been 
present, and inquired again of the parrot what had passed that night 
during his absence, the bird answered, O my master, I could neither 
see nor hear anything, on account of the excessive darkness, and 
thunder, and lightning, and rain. Now this happened during sum- 
mer: so he said to her, What strange words are these? It is now 
summer, when nothing of what thou hast described ever happens. — 
The parrot, however, swore by Allah the Great that what she had 
said was true; and that it had so happened: upon which the man, 
not understanding the case, nor knowing the plot, became violently 
enraged, and took out the bird from the cage, and threw her down 
upon the ground with such violence that he killed her. 

But after some days, one of his female slaves informed him of 
the truth; yet he would not believe it, until he saw his wife's para- 
mour going out from his house; when he drew his sword, and slew 
the traitor by a blow on the back of his neck: so also did he to his 


treacherous wife; and thus both of them went, laden with the sin 
which they had committed, to the fire; and the merchant discovered 
that the parrot had informed him truly of what she had seen; and 
he mourned grievously for her loss. 

When the Wezir heard these words of King Yunan, he said, O 
King of great dignity, what hath this crafty sage — this man from 
whom nought but mischief proceedeth — done unto me, that I should 
be his enemy, and speak evil of him, and plot with thee to destroy 
him? I have informed thee respecting him in compassion for thee, 
and in fear of his despoiling thee of thy happiness; and if my words 
be not true, destroy me, as the Wezir of Es-Sindibad was destroyed. 
— The King asked. How was that ? And the Wezir thus answered : — 

The Story of the Envious Wezir and the Prince and the Ghuleh 

The King above mentioned had a son who was ardently fond of 
the chase; and he had a Wezir whom he charged to be always with 
his son wherever he went. One day the son went forth to hunt, and 
his father's Wezir was with him; and as they rode together, they 
saw a great wild beast; upon which the Wezir exclaimed to the 
Prince, Away after this wild beast! The King's son pursued it until 
he was out of the sight of his attendants, and the beast also escaped 
from before his eyes in the desert; and while the Prince wandered 
in perplexity, not knowing whither to direct his course, he met in 
his way a damsel, who was weeping. He said to her, Who art thou ? 
— and she answered, I am a daughter of one of the kings of India; 
I was in the desert, and slumber overtook me, and I fell from my 
horse in a state of insensibility, and being thus separated from my 
attendants, I lost my way. The Prince, on hearing this, pitied her 
forlorn state, and placed her behind him on his horse; and as they 
proceeded, they passed by a ruin, and the damsel said to him, O my 
master, I would alight here for a little while. The Prince therefore 
hfted her from his horse at this ruin; but she delayed so long to 
return, that he wondered wherefore she had loitered so, and enter- 
ing after her, without her knowledge, perceived that she was a 
Ghuleh,^ and heard her say, My children, I have brought you to-day 

^A female Ghul, that eats men. 


a fat young man: — on which they exclaimed, Bring him in to us, 
O mother! that we may fill our stomachs with his flesh. When the 
Prince heard their words, he felt assured of destruction; the muscles 
of his sides quivered, and fear overcame him, and he retreated. The 
Ghuleh then came forth, and, seeing that he appeared alarmed and 
fearful, and that he was trembling, said to him. Wherefore dost thou 
fear? He answered, I have an enemy of whom I am in fear. The 
Ghuleh said, Thou assertest thyself to be the son of the King. He 
replied, Yes. — Then, said she, wherefore dost thou not give some 
money to thine enemy, and so conciliate him? He answered, He 
will not be appeased with money, nor with anything but life; and 
therefore do I fear him: I am an injured man. She then said to him, 
if thou be an injured man, as thou affirmest, beg aid of God against 
thine oppressor, and He will avert from thee his mischievous design, 
and that of every other person whom thou fearest. Upon this, 
therefore, the Prince raised his head towards heaven, and said, O 
Thou who answerest the distressed when he prayeth to Thee, and 
dispellest evil, assist me, and cause mine enemy to depart from me; 
for Thou art able to do whatsoever Thou wilt! — and the Ghuleh 
no sooner heard his prayer, than she departed from him. The Prince 
then returned to his father, and informed him of the conduct of 
the Wezir; upon which the King gave orders that the minister 
should be put to death. — 

And thou, O King, continued the Wezir of King Yunan, if thou 
trust in this sage, he will kill thee in the foulest manner. If thou 
continue to bestow favours upon him, and to make him thine inti- 
mate companion, he will plot thy destruction. Dost thou not see 
that he hath cured thee of the disease by external means, by a thing 
that thou heldest in thy hand ? Therefore thou art not secure against 
his killing thee by a thing that thou shalt hold in the same manner. — 
King Yunan answered, Thou hast spoken truth: the case is as thou 
hast said, O faithful Wezir: it is probable that this sage came as a 
spy to accomplish my death; and if he cured me by a thing I held 
in my hand, he may destroy me by a thing that I may smell: what 
then, O Wezir, shall be done respecting him ? The Wezir answered. 
Send to him immediately, and desire him to come hither; and when 


he is come, strike off his head, and so shalt thou avert from thee 
his evil design, and be secure from him. Betray him before he 
betray thee. — The King said. Thou hast spoken right. 

Immediately, therefore, he sent for the sage, who came, full of joy, 
not know^ing what the Compassionate had decreed against him, and 
addressed the King with these words of the poet — 

If I fail any day to render thee due thanks, tell me for whom I have 

composed my verse and prose. 
Thou hast loaded me with favours unsolicited, bestowed without delay 

on thy part, or excuse. 
How then should I abstain from praising thee as thou deservest, and 

lauding thee both with my heart and voice? 
Nay, I will thank thee for thy benefits conferred upon me: they are light 

upon my tongue, though weighty to my back. 

Knowest thou, said the King, wherefore I have summoned thee ? 
The sage answered. None knoweth what is secret but God, whose 
name be exalted! Then said the King, I have summoned thee that 
I may take away thy life. The sage, in the utmost astonishment at 
this announcement, said, O King, wherefore wouldst thou kill me, 
and what offence hath been committed by me ? The King answered, 
It hath been told me that thou art a spy, and that thou hast come 
hither to kill me : but I will prevent thee by killing thee first : — and 
so saying, he called out to the executioner. Strike off the head of this 
traitor, and relieve me from his wickedness. — Spare me, said the 
sage, and so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God 
destroy thee. — And he repeated these words several times, like as I 
did, O 'Efrit; but thou wouldst not let me go, desiring to destroy me. 

King Yunan then said to the sage Duban, I shall not be secure 
unless I kill thee; for thou curedst me by a thing that I held in my 
hand, and I have no security against thy killing me by a thing that 
I may smell, or by some other means. — O King, said the sage, is this 
my recompense from thee? Dost thou return evil for good? — The 
King answered. Thou must be slain without delay. When the sage, 
therefore, was convinced that the King intended to put him to 
death, and that his fate was inevitable, he lamented the benefit that 
he had done to the undeserving. The executioner then advanced, 


and bandaged his eyes, and, having drawn his sword, said, Give 
permission. Upon this the sage wept, and said again. Spare me, and 
so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy thee! 
Wouldst thou return me the recompense of the crocodile? — What, 
said the King, is the story of the crocodile? The sage answered, I 
cannot relate it while in this condition; but I conjure thee by Allah 
to spare me, and so may He spare thee. And he wept bitterly. Then 
one of the chief officers of the King arose, and said, O King, give up 
to me the blood of this sage; for we have not seen him commit any 
oflFence against thee; nor have we seen him do aught but cure thee 
of thy disease, which wearied the other physicians and sages. The 
King answered. Ye know not the reason wherefore I would kill the 
sage: it is this, that if I suffered him to live, I should myself inevitably 
perish; for he who cured me of the disease under which I suffered 
by a thing that I held in my hand, may kill me by a thing that I 
may smell; and I fear that he would do so, and would receive an 
appointment on account of it; seeing that it is probable he is a spy 
who hath come hither to kill me; I must therefore kill him, and 
then shall I feel myself safe. — The sage then said again, Spare me, 
and so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy 

But he now felt certain, O *Efrit, that the King would put him 
to death, and that there was no escape for him; so he said, O King, 
if my death is indispensable, grant me some respite, that I may 
return to my house, and acquit myself of my duties, and give 
directions to my family and neighbours to bury me, and dispose of 
my medical books; and among my books is one of the most especial 
value, which I offer as a present to thee, that thou mayest treasure it 
in thy library.— And what, said the King, is this book? He answered. 
It contains things not to be enumerated; and the smallest of the 
secret virtues that it possesses is this; that, when thou hast cut off my 
head, if thou open this book, and count three leaves, and then read 
three Hues on the page to the left, the head will speak to thee, and 
answer whatever thou shalt ask. At this the King was excessively 
astonished, and shook with delight, and said to him, O Sage, when I 
have cut off thy head will it speak? He answered. Yes, O King; 
and this is a wonderful thing. 


The King then sent him in the custody o£ guards; and the sage 
descended to his house, and settled all his affairs on that day; and 
on the following day he went up to the court: and the Emirs and 
Wezirs, and Chamberlains and Deputies, and all the great officers 
of the state, went thither also: and the court resembled a flower- 
garden. And when the sage had entered, he presented himself be- 
fore the King, bearing an old book, and a small pot containing a 
powder: and he sat down, and said. Bring me a tray. So they 
brought him one; and he poured out the powder into it, and spread 
it. He then said, O King, take this book, and do nothing with it 
until thou hast cut off my head; and when thou hast done so, place 
it upon this tray, and order some one to press it down upon the 
powder; and when this is done, the blood will be stanched: then 
open the book. As soon as the sage had said this, the King gave 
orders to strike off his head; and it was* done. The King then 
opened the book, and found that its leaves were stuck together; so 
he put his finger to his mouth, and moistened it with his spittle, and 
opened the first leaf, and the second, and the third; but the leaves 
were not opened without difficulty. He opened six leaves, and looked 
at them; but found upon them no writing. So he said, O Sage, 
there is nothing written in it. The head of the sage answered, Turn 
over more leaves. The King did so; and in a little while, the poison 
penetrated into his system; for the book was poisoned; and the 
King fell back, and cried out, The poison hath penetrated into me! — 
and upon this, the head of the sage Duban repeated these verses: — 

They made use of their power, and used it tyrannically; and soon it 
became as though it never had existed. 

Had they acted equitably, they had experienced equity; but they op- 
pressed; wherefore fortune oppressed them with calamities and 

Then did the case itself announce to them, This is the reward of your 
conduct, and fortune is blameless. 

And when the head of the sage Duban had uttered these words, 
the King immediately fell down dead. 

Now, O 'Efrit, continued the fisherman, know that if King Yunan 
had spared the sage, Duban, God had spared him; but he refused. 


and desired his destruction; therefore God destroyed him; and thou, 
O 'Efrit, if thou hadst spared me, God had spared thee, and I had 
spared thee; but thou desiredst my death; therefore will I put thee 
to death imprisoned in this bottle, and will throw thee here into the 
sea. The Marid, upon this, cried out, and said, I conjure thee by 
Allah, O fisherman, that thou do it not: spare me in generosity, 
and be not angry with me for what I did; but if I have done evil, 
do thou good, according to the proverb, — O thou benefactor of him 
who hath done evil, the action that he hath done is sufficient for 
him: — do not therefore as Umameh did to *Atikeh. — And what, 
said the fisherman, was their case ? The 'Ef rit answered. This is not 
a time for telling stories, when I am in this prison; but when thou 
liberatest me, I will relate to thee their case. The fisherman said, 
Thou must be thrown into the sea, and there shall be no way of 
escape for thee from it; for I endeavoured to propitiate thee, and 
humbled myself before thee, yet thou wouldest nothing but my 
destruction, though I had committed no offence to deserve it, and 
had done no evil to thee whatever, but only good, delivering thee 
from thy confinement; and when thou didst thus unto me, I per- 
ceived that thou wast radically corrupt: and I would have thee 
know, that my motive for throwing thee into this sea, is that I may 
acquaint with thy story every one that shall take thee out, and 
caution him against thee, that he may cast thee in again : thus shalt 
thou remain in this sea to the end of time, and experience varieties 
of torment. — The 'Efrit then said. Liberate me, for this is an oppor- 
tunity for thee to display humanity; and I vow to thee that I will 
never do thee harm; but, on the contrary, will do thee a service 
that shall enrich thee for ever. 

Upon this the fisherman accepted his covenant that he would not 
hurt him, but that he would do him good; and when he had bound 
him by oaths and vows, and made him swear by the Most Great 
Name of God, he opened to him; and the smoke ascended until 
it had all come forth, and then collected together, and became, as 
before, an 'Efrit of hideous form. The 'Efrit then kicked the bottle 
into the sea. When the fisherman saw him do this, he made sure of 
destruction, and said. This is no sign of good: — but afterwards he 
fortified his heart, and said, O 'Efrit, God, whose name be exalted. 


hath said, Perform the covenant, for the covenant shall be inquired 
into :^ — and thou hast covenanted with me, and sworn that thou wilt 
not act treacherously towards me; therefore, if thou so act, God will 
recompense thee; for He is jealous; He respiteth, but suffereth not 
to escape; and remember that I said to thee as said the sage Duban 
to King Yunan, Spare me, and so may God spare thee. 

The 'Efrit laughed, and walking on before him, said, O fisherman, 
follow me. The fisherman did so, not believing in his escape, until 
they had quitted the neighbourhood of the city, and ascended a 
mountain, and descended into a wide desert tract, in the midst of 
which was a lake of water. Here the 'Efrit stopped, and ordered 
the fisherman to cast his net and take some fish; and the fisherman, 
looking into the lake, saw in it fish of different colours, white and 
red and blue and yellow; at which he was astonished; and he cast 
his net, and drew it in, and found in it four fish, each fish of a 
different colour from the others, at the sight of which he rejoiced. 
The 'Efrit then said to him. Take them to the Sultan, and present 
them to him, and he will give thee what will enrich thee; and for 
the sake of God accept my excuse, for, at present, I know no other 
way of rewarding thee, having been in the sea a thousand and 
eight hundred years, and not seen the surface of the earth until now; 
but take not fish from the lake more than once each day: and now 
I commend thee to the care of God. — Having thus said, he struck 
the earth with his feet, and it clove asunder, and swallowed him. 

The fisherman then went back to the city, wondering at all that 
had befallen him with the 'Efrit, and carried the fish to his house; 
and he took an earthen bowl, and, having filled it with water, put 
the fish into it; and they struggled in the water: and when he had 
done this, he placed the bowl upon his head, and repaired to the 
King's palace, as the 'Efrit had commanded him, and, going up 
unto the King, presented to him the fish; and the King was exces- 
sively astonished at them, for he had never seen any like them in 
the course of his life; and he said. Give these fish to the slave cook- 
maid. This maid had been sent as a present to him by the King 
of the Greeks, three days before; and he had not yet tried her skill. 
The Wezir, therefore, ordered her to fry the fish, and said to her, O 

^Kur*an, xvii 36. 


maid, the King saith unto thee, I have not reserved my tear but 
for the time of my difficulty : — to-day, then, gratify us by a specimen 
of thy excellent cookery, for a person hath brought these fish as a 
present to the Sultan. After having thus charged her, the Wezir 
returned, and the King ordered him to give the fisherman four 
hundred pieces of gold: so the Wezir gave them to him; and he 
took them in his lap, and returned to his home and his wife, joyful 
and happy, and bought what was needful for his family. 

Such were the events that befell the fisherman: now we must 
relate what happened to the maid. — She took the fish, and cleaned 
them, and arranged them in the frying-pan, and left them until 
one side was cooked, when she turned them upon the other side; 
and lo, the wall of the kitchen clove asunder, and there came forth 
from it a damsel of tall stature, smooth-cheeked, of perfect form, 
with eyes adorned with kohl, beautiful in countenance, and with 
heavy, swelling hips; wearing a kufiyeh interwoven with blue silk; 
with rings in her ears, and bracelets on her wrists, and rings set 
with precious jewels on her fingers; and in her hand was a rod of 
Indian cane: and she dipped the end of the rod in the frying-pan, 
and said, O fish, are ye remaining faithful to your covenant ? At the 
sight of this, the cook-maid fainted. The damsel then repeated the 
same words a second and a third time; after which the fish raised 
their heads from the frying-pan, and answered, Yes, yes. They then 
repeated the following verse: — 

If thou return, we return; and if thou come, we come; and if thou for- 
sake, we verily do the same. 

And upon this the damsel overturned the frying-pan, and departed 
by the way she had entered, and the wall of the kitchen closed up 
again. The cook-maid then arose, and beheld the four fish burnt 
like charcoal; and she exclaimed. In his first encounter his staff 
broke! — and as she sat reproaching herself, she beheld the Wezir 
standing at her head; and he said to her. Bring the fish to the 
Sultan: — and she wept, and informed him of what had happened. 
The Wezir was astonished at her words, and exclaimed. This is 
indeed a wonderful event; — and he sent for the fisherman, and when 
he was brought, he said to him, O fisherman, thou must bring to us 


four fish like those which thou broughtest before. The fisherman 
accordingly went forth to the lake, and threw his net, and when he 
had drawn it in he found in it four fish as before; and he took 
them to the Wezir, who went with them to the maid, and said to 
her, Rise, and fry them in my presence, that I may witness this 
occurrence. The maid, therefore, prepared the fish, and put them 
in the frying-pan, and they had remained but a little while, when 
the wall clove asunder, and the damsel appeared, clad as before, and 
holding the rod; and she dipped the end of the rod in the frying- 
pan, and said, O fish, O fish, are ye remaining faithful to your old 
covenant? Upon which they raised their heads, and answered as 
before; and the damsel overturned the frying-pan with the rod, and 
returned by the way she had entered, and the wall closed up again. 
The Wezir then said. This is an event which cannot be con- 
cealed from the King: — so he went to him, and informed him of 
what had happened in his presence; and the King said, I must see 
this with my own eyes. He sent, therefore, to the fisherman, and 
commanded him to bring four fish like the former, granting him 
a delay of three days. And the fisherman repaired to the lake, and 
brought the fish thence to the King, who ordered again that four 
hundred pieces of gold should be given to him; and then, turning 
to the Wezir, said to him, Cook the fish thyself here before me. The 
Wezir answered, I hear and obey. He brought the frying-pan, and 
after he had cleaned the fish, threw them into it; and as soon as he 
had turned them, the wall clove asunder, and there came forth from 
it a negro, in size like a bull, or like one of the tribe of *Ad,^ having 
in his hand a branch of a green tree; and he said, with a clear but 
terrifying voice, O fish, O fish, are ye remaining faithful to your old 
covenant? Upon which they raised their heads, and answered as 
before. Yes, yes: 

If thou return, we return; and if thou come, we come; and if thou for- 
sake, we verily do the same. 

The black then approached the frying-pan, and overturned it with 
the branch, and the fish became like charcoal, and he went away 
as he had come. 

^The smallest of the ancient Arab tribe of 'Ad is said to have been sixty cubits 


When he had thus disappeared from before their eyes, the King 
said, This is an event respecting which it is impossible to keep 
silence, and there must, undoubtedly, be some strange circumstance 
connected with these fish. He then ordered that the fisherman 
should be brought before him, and when he had come, he said to 
him, Whence came these fish? The fisherman answered, From a 
lake between four mountains behind this mountain which is without 
thy city. The King said to him. How many days' journey distant? 
He answered, O our lord the Sultan, a journey of half-an-hour. 
And the Sultan was astonished, and ordered his troops to go out 
immediately with him and the fisherman, who began to curse the 
'Efrit. They proceeded until they had ascended the mountain, and 
descended into a wide desert tract which they had never before 
seen in their whole lives; and the Sultan and all the troops wondered 
at the sight of this desert, which was between four mountains, and 
at the fish, which were of four colors, red and white and yellow and 
blue. The King paused in astonishment, and said to the troops, 
and to the other attendants who were with him, Hath any one of 
you before seen this lake in this place? They all answered, No. 
Then said the King, By Allah, I will not enter my city, nor will I sit 
upon my throne, until I know the true history of this lake, and of 
its fish. And upon this he ordered his people to encamp around these 
mountains; and they did so. He then called for the Wezir, who was 
a w^ell-informed, sensible, prudent, and learned man; and when he 
had presented himself before him, he said to him, I desire to do a 
thing with which I will acquaint thee; and it is this: — I have 
resolved to depart alone this night, to seek for information respecting 
this lake and its fish: therefore, sit thou at the door of my pavilion, 
and say to the Emirs and Wezirs and Chamberlains, The Sultan is 
sick, and hath commanded me not to allow any person to go in 
unto him: — and acquaint no one with my intention. 

The Wezir was unable to oppose his design; so the King dis- 
guised himself, and slung on his sword, and withdrew himself from 
the midst of his troops. He journeyed the whole of the night, until 
the morning, and proceeded until the heat became oppressive to him : 
he then paused to rest; after which he again proceeded the re- 


mainder of the day and the second night until the morning, when 
there appeared before him, in the distance, something black, at the 
sight of which he rejoiced, and said. Perhaps I shall there find some 
person who will inform me of the history of the lake and its fish. 
And when he approached this black object, he found it to be a 
palace built of black stones, and overlaid with iron; and one of the 
leaves of its door was open, and the other shut. The King was glad, 
and he stood at the door, and knocked gently, but heard no answer; 
he knocked a second and a third time, but again heard no answer: 
then he knocked a fourth time, and with violence; but no one 
answered. So he said. It is doubtless empty: — and he took courage, 
and entered from the door into the passage, and cried out, saying, 
O inhabitants of the palace, I am a stranger and a traveller! have 
ye any provision? And he repeated these words a second and a 
third time; but heard no answer. And upon this he fortified his 
heart, and emboldened himself, and proceeded from the passage 
into the midst of the palace; but he found no one there, and only 
saw that it was furnished, and that there was, in the centre of it, a 
fountain with four lions of red gold, which poured forth the water 
from their mouths, like pearls and jewels: around this were birds; 
and over the top of the palace was extended a net which prevented 
their flying out. At the sight of these objects he was astonished, and 
he was grieved that he saw no person there whom he could ask for 
information respecting the lake, and the fish, and the mountains, 
and the palace. He then sat down between the doors, reflecting 
upon these things; and as he thus sat, he heard a voice of lamenta- 
tion from a sorrowful heart, chanting these verses: — 

O fortune, thou pitiest me not, nor releasest me! See my heart is strait- 
ened between affliction and peril! 

Will not you [O my wife] have compassion on the mighty whom love 
hath abased, and the wealthy who is reduced to indigence? 

We were jealous even of the zephyr which passed over you: but when 
the divine decree is issued, the eye becometh blind! 

What resource hath the archer when, in the hour of conflict, he desireth 
to discharge the arrow, but findeth his bow-string broken? 

And when troubles are multiplied upon the noble-minded, where shall he 
find refuge from fate and from destiny? 


When the Sultan heard this lamentation, he sprang upon his 
feet, and, seeking the direction whence it proceeded, found a curtain 
suspended before the door of a chamber; and he raised it, and 
beheld behind it a young man sitting on a couch raised to the 
height of a cubit from the floor. He was a handsome youth, well- 
shaped, and of eloquent speech, with shining forehead, and rosy 
cheek, marked with a mole resembling ambergris. The King was 
rejoiced at seeing him, and saluted him; and the young man (who 
remained sitting, and was clad with a vest of silk, embroidered with 
gold, but who exhibited traces of grief) returned his salutation, and 
said to him, O my master, excuse my not rising. — O youth! said the 
King, inform me respecting the lake, and its fish of various colours, 
and respecting this palace, and the reason of thy being alone in it, 
and of thy lamentation. When the young man heard these words, 
tears trickled down his cheeks, and he wept bitterly. And the King 
was astonished, and said to him. What causeth thee to, weep, O 
youth ? He answered. How can I refrain from weeping, when this is 
my state? — and so saying, he stretched forth his hand, and lifted up 
the skirts of his clothing; and lo, half of him, from his waist to the 
soles of his feet, was stone; and from his waist to the hair of his 
head, he was like other men. He then said. Know, O King, that 
the story of the fish is extraordinary; if it were engraved upon the 
intellect, it would be a lesson to him who would be admonished: — 
and he related as follows: — 

The Story of the Young King of the Black Islands 

My father was king of the city which was here situate: his name 
was Mahmud, and he was lord of the Black Islands, and of the four 
mountains. After a reign of seventy years, he died, and I succeeded 
to his throne; whereupon I took as my wife the daughter of my 
uncle; and she loved me excessively, so that when I absented myself 
from her, she would neither eat nor drink till she saw me again. 
She remained under my protection five years. After this, she went 
one day to the bath; and I had commanded the cook to prepare 
the supper, and entered this palace, and slept in my usual place. I 
had ordered two maids to fan me; and one of them sat at my head, 
and the other at my feet; but I was restless, because my wife was 


not with me; and I could not sleep. My eyes were closed, but my 
spirit was awake; and I heard the maid at my head say to her at my 
feet, O Mes'udeh, verily our lord is unfortunate in his youth, and 
what a pity is it that it should be passed with our depraved, wicked 
mistress! — Perdition to unfaithful wives! replied the other: but 
(added she) such a person as our lord, so endowed by nature, is not 
suited to this profligate woman, who passes every night absent from 
his bed. — ^Verily, rejoined she at my head, our lord is careless in not 
making any inquiry respecting her. — Wo to thee! said the other: 
hath our lord any knowledge of her conduct, or doth she leave him 
to his choice? Nay, on the contrary, she contriveth to defraud him 
by means of the cup of wine which he drinketh every night before 
he sleepeth, putting benj* into it; in consequence of which he sleep- 
eth so soundly that he knoweth not what happeneth, nor whither 
she goeth, nor what she doeth; for, after she hath given him the 
wine to drink, she dresseth herself, and goeth out from him, and is 
absent until daybreak, when she returneth to him, and burneth a 
perfume under his nose, upon which he awaketh from his sleep. 

When I heard this conversation of the maids, the light became 
darkness before my face, and I was hardly conscious of the approach 
of night, when my cousin returned from the bath. The table was 
prepared, and we ate, and sat a while drinking our wine as usual. 
I then called for the wine which I was accustomed to drink before 
I lay down to sleep, and she handed to me the cup; but I turned 
away, and, pretending to drink it as I was wont to do, poured it 
into my bosom, and immediately lay down: upon which she said, 
Sleep on; I wish that thou wouldst never wake again! By Allah, 
I abhor thee, and abhor thy person, and my soul is weary of thy 
company! — She then arose, and attired herself in the most magnifi- 
cent of her apparel, and, having perfumed herself, and slung on a 
sword, opened the door of the palace, and went out. I got up im- 
mediately, and followed her until she had quitted the palace, and 
passed through the streets of the city, and arrived at the city-gates, 
when she pronounced some words that I understood not; where- 
upon the locks fell off, and the gates opened, and she went out, I 
still following her, without her knowledge. Thence she proceeded 

* Bhan?, hemp. 


to a space among the mounds, and arrived at a strong edifice, in 
which was a kubbeh^ constructed o£ mud, with a door, which she 
entered. I then cHmbed upon the roof o£ the kubbeh, and, looking 
down upon her through an aperture, saw that she was visiting a 
black slave, whose large lips, one of which overlapped the other^ 
gathered up the sand from the pebbly floor, while he lay, in a filthy 
and wet condition, upon a few stalks of sugar-cane. 

She kissed the ground before this slave; and he raised his head 
towards her, and said. Wo to thee! Wherefore hast thou remained 
away until this hour? The other blacks have been here drinking 
wine, and each of them has gone away with his mistress; and I 
refused to drink on thy account. — She answered, O my master, and 
beloved of my heart, knowest thou not that I am married to my 
cousin, and that I abhor every man who resembles him, and hate 
myself while I am in his company? If I did not fear to displease 
thee, I would reduce the city to ruins, so that the owl and the raven 
should, cry in it, and would transport its stones beyond Mount 
Kaf.^^ — Thou liest, thou infamous Vv^oman, replied the slave; and I 
swear by the generosity of the blacks (and if I speak not truth, may 
our valour be as the valour of the whites), that if thou loiter as thou 
hast now done till this hour, I will no longer give thee my company, 
nor approach thy person, thou faithless one! Dost thou inconven- 
ience me for the sake of thine own pleasure, thou filthy wretch, and 
vilest of the whites? — ^When I heard (continued the King) their 
words, and witnessed what passed between them, the world became 
dark before my face, and I knew not where I was. — My cousin still 
stood weeping, and abasing herself before him, and said, O my 
beloved, and treasure of my heart, there remaineth to me none but 
thee for whom I care, and if thou cast me off, alas for me! O my 
beloved! O light of mine eye! — Thus she continued to weep, and 
to humble herself before him, until he became pacified towards her; 
upon which she rejoiced, and arose, and, having disrobed herself, 
said to him, O my master, hast thou here anything that thy maid 
may eat? He answered. Uncover the dough-pan; it contains some 
cooked rats' bones: eat of them, and pick them; and take this 

^ A building with a dome. 
^^ The chain of mountains believed by Muslims to encircle the earth. 


earthen pot: thou wilt find in it some buzah^^ to drink. So she 
arose, and ate and drank, and washed her hands; after which she 
lay down by the side of the slave, upon the stalks of sugar-cane, 
and covered herself with his tattered clothes and rags. 

When I saw her do this, I became unconscious of my existence, 
and, descending from the roof of the kubbeh, entered, and took the 
sword from the side of my cousin, with the intention of killing 
them both. I struck the slave upon his neck, and thought that he 
was killed; but the blow, which I gave with the view of severing 
his head, only cut the gullet and skin and flesh; and when I thought 
that I had killed him, he uttered a loud snore, upon which my 
cousin started up, and, as soon as I had gone, took the sword, and 
returned it to its scabbard, and came back to the city and to the 
palace, and lay down again in my bed, in which she remained until 
the morning. 

On the following day, I observed that my cousin had cut off her 
hair, and put on the apparel of mourning; and she said to me, O 
my cousin, blame me not for what I do; for I have received news 
that my mother is dead, and that my father hath been slain in a 
holy war, and that one of my two brothers hath died of a poisonous 
sting, and the other by the fall of a house: it is natural, therefore, that 
I should weep and mourn. On hearing these words, I abstained 
from upbraiding her, and said. Do what seemeth fit to thee; for I 
will not oppose thee. Accordingly, she continued mourning and 
weeping and wailing a whole year; after which she said to me, I 
have a desire to build for myself, in thy palace, a tomb, with a 
kubbeh, that I may repair thither alone to mourn, and I will call it 
the House of Lamentations. I replied, Do what thou seest fit. So she 
built for herself a house for mourning, with a kubbeh in the middle 
of it, like the tomb of a saint; after which she removed thither the 
slave, and there she lodged him. He was in a state of excessive 
weakness, and unable to render her any service, though he drank 
wine; and from the day on which I had wounded him, he had never 
spoken; yet he remained alive, because the appointed term of his 
Hfe had not expired. My cousin every day visited him in this tomb 
early and late, to weep and mourn over him, and took to him wine 

^^ Barley-beer. 


to drink, and boiled meats; and thus she continued to do, morning 
and evening, until the expiration of the second year, while I pa- 
tiently suffered her, till, one day, I entered her apartments unawares, 
and found her weeping, and slapping her face, and repeating these 
verses : — 

I have lost my existence among mankind since your absence; for my 

heart loveth none but you. 
Take my body, then, in mercy, to the place where you are laid; and there 

bury me by your side: 
And if, at my grave, you utter my name, the moaning of my bones shall 

answer to your call. 

As soon as she had finished the recitation of these verses, I said 
to her, holding my drawn sword in my hand. This is the language 
of those faithless women who renounce the ties of affinity, and 
regard not lawful fellowship! — and I was about to strike her with 
the sword, and had lifted up my arm to do so, when she rose — for 
she knew that it was I who had wounded the slave — and, standing 
before me, pronounced some words which I understood not, and 
said. May God, by means of my enchantment, make thee to be 
half of stone, and half of the substance of man! — whereupon I be- 
came as thou seest, unable to move, neither dead nor alive; and when 
I had been reduced to this state, she enchanted the city and its 
markets and fields. The inhabitants of our city were of four classes; 
Muslims and Christians, and Jews and Magians; and she trans- 
formed them into fish: the white are the Muslims; the red, the 
Magians; the blue, the Christians; and the yellow, the Jews. She 
transformed, also, the four islands into four mountains, and placed 
them around the lake; and from that time she has continued every 
day to torture me, inflicting upon me a hundred lashes with a 
leathern whip, until the blood flows from my wounds; after which 
she puts on my upper half a vest of hair-cloth, beneath these gar- 
ments. — Having said thus, the young man wept, and ejaculated the 
following verses: — 

Give me patience, O Allah, to bear what Thou decreest! I will be 

patient, if so I may obtain thine approval. 
I am straitened, indeed, by the calamity that hath befallen me: but the 

Family of the favoured Prophet shall intercede for me! 


Upon this, the King, looking towards the young man, said to 
him, O youth, thou hast increased my anxiety. And where (he 
added) is this woman? — The young man answered, She is in the 
tomb where the slave is lying, in the kubbeh; and every day, before 
she visits him, she strips me o£ my clothing, and inflicts upon me a 
hundred lashes with the whip, while I weep and cry out, unable to 
move so as to repulse her. After thus torturing me, she repairs early 
to the slave, with the wine and boiled meat. — By Allah, O youth, 
said the King, I will do thee an act of kindness for which I shall be 
remembered, and a favour which historians shall record in a biog- 
raphy after me. 

He then sat and conversed with him until the approach of night, 
upon which he arose, and waited till the first dawn of day, when he 
took off his clothes, and slung on his sword, and went to the place 
where the slave lay. After remarking the candles and lamps, and 
perfumes and ointments, he approached the slave, and with a blow 
of his sword slew him; he then carried him on his back, and threw 
him into a well which he found in the palace, and returning to the 
kubbeh, clad himself with the slave's clothes, and lay down with the 
drawn sword by his side. Soon after, the vile enchantress went to 
her cousin, and, having pulled off his clothes, took the whip and beat 
him, while he cried. Ah! it is enough for me to be in this state! 
Have pity on me then! — Didst thou shew pity to me, she exclaimed, 
and didst thou spare my lover? — She then put on him the hair- 
cloth vest and his outer garments, and repaired to the slave with a 
cup of wine, and a bowl of boiled meat. Entering the tomb, she 
wept and wailed, exclaiming, O my master, answer me! O my 
master, speak to me! — and poured forth her lamentation in the 
words of this verse : — 

How long shall this aversion and harshness continue? Sufficient is the 
evil which my passion hath brought upon me! 

Then, weeping, as before, she exclaimed again, O my master, answer 
me and speak to me! Upon this the King, speaking in a low voice, 
and adapting his tongue to the pronunciation of the blacks ejacu- 
lated. Ah! Ah! there is no strength nor power but in God! On 
hearing these words, she screamed with joy, and fell down in a 


swoon; and when she recovered, she exclaimed, Possibly my master 
is restored to health! The King, again lowering his voice, as i£ from 
weakness, replied, Thou profligate wretch, thou deservest not that I 
should address thee. — Wherefore? said she. He answered. Because 
all the day long thou tormentest thy husband, while he calleth out, 
and imploreth the aid of God, so that thou hast prevented my sleep- 
ing from the commencement of darkness until morning: thy hus- 
band hath not ceased to humble himself, and to imprecate venge- 
ance upon thee, till he hath distracted me; and had it not been for 
this, I had recovered my strength: this it is which hath prevented 
my answering thee. — Then, with thy permission, she replied, I will 
liberate him from his present sufferings. — Liberate him, said the 
King, and give us ease. 

She replied, I hear and obey; — and immediately arose, and went 
out from the kubbeh to the palace, and, taking a cup, filled it with 
water, and pronounced certain words over it, upon which it began 
to boil like a cauldron. She then sprinkled some of it upon her 
cousin, saying. By virtue of what I have uttered, be changed from 
thy present state to that in which thou wast at first! — and instantly 
he shook, and stood upon his feet, rejoicing in his liberation, and 
exclaimed, I testify that there is no deity but God, and that Mo- 
hammad is God's Apostle; God bless and save him! She then said 
to him. Depart, and return not hither, or I will kill thee: — and she 
cried out in his face: so he departed from before her, and she re- 
turned to the kubbeh, and said, O my master, come forth to me 
that I may behold thee. He replied, with a weak voice, What hast 
thou done? Thou hast relieved me from the branch, but hast not 
relieved me from the root. — O my beloved, she said, and what is the 
root ? He answered. The people of this city, and of the four islands : 
every night, at the middle hour, the fish raise their heads, and im- 
precate vengeance upon me and upon thee; and this is the cause 
that preventeth the return of vigour to my body; therefore, liberate 
them, and come, and take my hand, and raise me; for vigour hath 
already in part returned to me. 

On hearing these words of the King, whom she imagined to be 
the slave, she said to him with joy, O my master, on my head and 
my eye! In the name of Allah! — and she sprang up, full of happi- 


ness, and hastened to the lake, where, taking a Uttle of its water, 
she pronounced over it some unintelUgible words, whereupon the 
fish became agitated, and raised their heads, and immediately be- 
came converted into men as before. Thus was the enchantment re- 
moved from the inhabitants of the city, and the city became 
repeopled, and the market-streets re-erected, and every one returned 
to his occupation: the mountains also became changed into islands 
as they were at the first. The enchantress then returned immediately 
to the King, whom she still imagined to be the slave, and said to 
him, O my beloved, stretch forth thy honoured hand, that I may 
kiss it. — Approach me, said the King in a low voice. So she drew 
near to him; and he, having his keen-edged sword ready in his hand, 
thrust it into her bosom, and the point protruded from her back: 
he then struck her again, and clove her in twain, and went forth. 

He found the young man who had been enchanted waiting his 
return, and congratulated him on his safety; and the young prince 
kissed his hand, and thanked him. The King then said to him. 
Wilt thou remain in thy city, or come with me to my capital ? — O 
King of the age, said the young man, dost thou know the distance 
that is between thee and thy city? The King answered, Two days 
and a half. — O King, replied the young man, if thou hast been 
asleep, awake: between thee and thy city is a distance of a year's 
journey to him who travelleth with diligence; and thou camest in 
two days and a half only because the city was enchanted: but, O 
King, I will never quit thee for the twinkling of an eye. The King 
rejoiced at his words, and said. Praise be to God, who hath in his 
beneficence given thee to me: thou art my son; for during my whole 
life, I have never been blest with a son: — and they embraced each 
other, and rejoiced exceedingly. They then went together into the 
palace, where the King who had been enchanted informed the 
officers of his court that he was about to perform the holy pilgrim- 
age: so they prepared for him everything that he required; and he 
departed with the Sultan; his heart burning with reflections upon 
his city, because he had been deprived of the sight of it for the 
space of a year. 

He set forth, accompanied by fifty menjuks and provided with 
presents, and they continued their journey night and day for a whole 


year, after which they drew near to the city of the Sultan, and the 
Wezir and the troops, who had lost all hope of his return, came 
forth to meet him. The troops, approaching him, kissed the ground 
before him, and congratulated him on his safe return; and he 
entered the city, and sat upon the throne. He then acquainted the 
Wezir with all that had happened to the young King; on hearing 
which, the Wezir congratulated the latter, also, on his safety; and 
when all things were restored to order, the Sultan bestowed presents 
upon a number of his subjects, and said to the Wezir, Bring to me 
the fisherman who presented to me the fish. So he sent to this 
fisherman, who had been the cause of the restoration of the in- 
habitants of the enchanted city, and brought him; and the King 
invested him with a dress of honour, and inquired of him respecting 
his circumstances, and whether he had any children. The fisherman 
informed him that he had a son and two daughters; and the King, 
on hearing this, took as his wife one of the daughters, and the young 
prince married the other. The King also conferred upon the son the 
office of treasurer. He then sent the Wezir to the city of the young 
prince, the capital of the Black Islands, and invested him with its 
sovereignty, despatching with him the fifty memluks who had ac- 
companied him thence, with numerous robes of honour to all the 
Emirs; and the Wezir kissed his hands, and set forth on his journey; 
while the Sultan and the young prince remained. And as to the 
fisherman, he became the wealthiest of the people of his age; and 
his daughters continued to be the wives of the Kings until they died. 
But this (added Shahrazad) is not more wonderful than what 
happened to the porter. 

[Nights g-i8] 

The Story of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad, and 
OF the Three Royal Mendicants, Etc. 

THERE was a man o£ the city of Baghdad, who was un- 
married, and he was a porter; and one day, as he sat in the 
market, reclining against his crate, there accosted him a 
female wrapped in an izar of the manufacture of El-Mosil,^ com- 
posed of gold-embroidered silk, with a border of gold lace at each 
end, who raised her face-veil, and displayed beneath it a pair of 
black eyes, with lids bordered by long lashes, exhibiting a tender 
expression, and features of perfect beauty; and she said, with a 
sweet voice. Bring thy crate, and follow me. 

The porter had scarcely heard her words when he took up his 
crate, and he followed her until she stopped at the door of a house, 
and knocked; whereupon there came down to her a Christian, and 
she gave him a piece of gold, and received for it a quantity of olives, 
and two large vessels of wine, which she placed in the crate, saying 
to the porter. Take it up, and follow me. The porter exclaimed, 
This is, indeed, a fortunate day! — and he took up the crate, and 
followed her. She next stopped at the shop of a fruiterer, and bought 
of him Syrian apples, and 'Othmani quinces, and peaches of 'Oman, 
and jasmine of Aleppo, and water-lilies of Damascus, and cucum- 
bers of the Nile, and Egyptian limes, and Sultani citrons, and sweet- 
scented myrtle, and sprigs of the henna-tree, and chamomile, and 
anemones, and violets, and pomegranate-flowers, and eglantine: all 
these she put into the porter's crate, and said to him. Take it up. So 
he took it up, and followed her until she stopped at the shop of a 
butcher, to whom she said. Cut off ten pounds of meat; — and he 
cut it off for her, and she wrapped it in a leaf of a banana-tree, and 
put it in the crate, and said again. Take it up, O porter: — and he 

k^ "Mosul," a city long famous for its fine stuffs. 


did so, and followed her. She next stopped at the shop of a seller 
of dry fruits, and took some of every kind of these, and desired the 
porter to take up his burden. Having obeyed, he followed her until 
she stopped at the shop of a confectioner, where she bought a dish, 
and filled it with sweets of every kind that he had, which she put 
into the crate; whereupon the porter ventured to say. If thou hadst 
informed me beforehand, I had brought with me a mule to carry 
all these things. The lady smiled at his remark, and next stopped 
at the shop of a perfumer, of whom she bought ten kinds of scented 
waters; rose-water, and orange-flower-water, and willow-flower- 
water, &c.; together with some sugar, and a sprinkUng-botde of 
rose-water infused with musk, and some frankincense, and aloes- 
wood, and ambergris, and musk, and wax candles; and, placing all 
these in the crate, she said. Take up thy crate, and follow me. He, 
therefore, took it up, and followed her until she came to a hand- 
some house, before which was a spacious court. It was a lofty 
structure, with a door of two leaves, composed of ebony, overlaid 
with plates of red gold. 

The young lady stopped at this door, and knocked gently; where- 
upon both its leaves were opened, and the porter, looking to see who 
opened it, found it to be a damsel of tall stature, high-bosomed, fair 
and beautiful, and of elegant form, with a forehead like the bright 
new moon, eyes like those of gazelles, eyebrows like the new moon 
of Ramadan, cheeks resembling anemones, and a mouth like the seal 
of Suleyman: her countenance was like the full moon in its splen- 
dour, and the forms of her bosom resembled two pomegranates of 
equal size. When the porter beheld her, she captivated his reason, 
the crate nearly fell from his head, and he exclaimed. Never in my 
life have I seen a more fortunate day than this! The lady-portress, 
standing within the door, said to the cateress and the porter. Ye are 
welcome: — and they entered, and proceeded to a spacious saloon, 
decorated with various colours, and beautifully constructed, with 
carved wood-work, and fountains, and benches of different kinds, 
and closets with curtains hanging before them; there was also in it, 
at the upper end, a couch of alabaster inlaid with large pearls and 
jewels, with mosquito-curtain of red satin suspended over it, and 
within this was a young lady with eyes possessing the enchantment 


of Babil/ and a figure like the letter Alif, with a face that put to 
shame the shining sun: she was like one of the brilliant planets, 
or rather, one of the most high-born of the maidens of Arabia. This 
third lady, rising from the couch, advanced with a slow and elegant 
gait to the middle of the saloon, where her sisters were standing, and 
said to them, Why stand ye still? Lift down the burden from the 
head of this poor porter: — whereupon the cateress placed herself 
before him, and the portress behind him, and, the third lady assist- 
ing them, they lifted it down from his head. They then took out 
the contents of the crate, and, having put everything in its place, 
gave to the porter two pieces of gold, saying to him Depart, O porter. 
The porter, however, stood looking at the ladies, and admiring 
their beauty and their agreeable dispositions; for he had never seen 
any more handsome; and when he observed that they had not a 
man among them, and gazed upon the wine, and fruits, and sweet- 
scented flowers, which were there, he was full of astonishment, and 
hesitated to go out; upon which one of the ladies said to him, Why 
dost thou not go ? dost thou deem thy hire too little ? Then turning 
to one of her sisters, she said to her. Give him another piece of 
gold. — By Allah, O my mistress, exclaimed the porter, my hire is 
but two half-dirhems, and I thought not what ye have given me too 
little; but my heart and mind were occupied with reflections upon 
you and your state, ye being alone, with no man among you, not one 
to amuse you with his company; for ye know that the menareh^ 
standeth not firmly but on four walls: now ye have not a fourth, 
and the pleasure of women is not complete without men: ye are 
three only, and have need of a fourth, who should be a man, a 
person of sense, discreet, acute, and a concealer of secrets. — We are 
maidens, they repUed; and fear to impart our secret to him who 
will not keep it; for we have read, in a certain history, this verse: — 

Guard thy secret from another: intrust it not: for he who intrusteth a 
secret hath lost it. 

— By your existence, said the porter, I am a man of sense, and trust- 

2 Babil, or Babel, is regarded by the Muslims as the fountain-head of the science 
of magic, which was, and, as most think, still is, taught there to mankind by two 
fallen angels, named Harut and Marut (Kur'an, ii. 96), who are there suspended 
by the feet in a great pit closed by a mass of rock. ^ Minaret. 


worthy: I have read various books, and perused histories: I make 
known what is fair, and conceal what is foul, and act in accordance 
with the saying of the poet: — 

None keepeth a secret but a faithful person: with the best of mankind 

it remaineth concealed. 
A secret is with me as in a house with a lock, whose key is lost, and 

whose door is sealed. 

When the ladies heard the verses which he quoted, and the words 
with which he addressed them, they said to him. Thou knowest that 
we have expended here a considerable sum of money : hast thou then 
wherewith to requite us ? We will not suffer thee to remain with us 
unless thou contribute a sum of money; for thou desirest to sit with 
us, and to be our cup-companion, and to gaze upon our beautiful 
faces. — If friendship is without money, said the mistress of the house, 
it is not equivalent to the weight of a grain: — and the portress 
added. If thou hast nothing, depart with nothing: — but the cateress 
said, O sister, let us suffer him; for, verily, he hath not been deficient 
in his services for us this day : another had not been so patient with 
us: whatever, therefore, falls to his share of the expense, I will de- 
fray for him. — At this the porter rejoiced, and exclaimed. By Allah, 
I obtained my first and only pay this day from none but thee: — and 
the other ladies said to him. Sit down: thou art welcome. 

The cateress then arose, and, having tightened her girdle, arranged 
the bottles, and strained the wine, and prepared the table by the pool 
of the fountain. She made ready all that they required, brought the 
wine, and sat down with her sisters; the porter also sitting with 
them, thinking he was in a dream. And when they had seated 
themselves, the cateress took a jar of wine, and filled the first cup, 
and drank it: she then filled another, and handed it to one of her 
sisters; and in like manner she did to her other sister; after which 
she filled again, and handed the cup to the porter, who, having 
taken it from her hand, repeated this verse: — 

I will drink the wine, and enjoy health; for, verily, this beverage is a 
remedy for disease. 

The wine continued to circulate among them, and the porter, taking 
his part in the revels, dancing and singing with them, and enjoying 


the fragrant odours, began to hug and kiss them, while one slapped 
him, and another pulled him, and the third beat him with sweet- 
scented flowers, till, at length, the wine made sport with their 
reason; and they threw off all restraint, indulging their merriment 
with as much freedom as if no man had been present. 

Thus they continued until the approach of night, when they said 
to the porter. Depart, and shew us the breadth of thy shoulders; — 
but he replied. Verily the departure of my soul from my body were 
more easy to me than my departure from your company; therefore 
suffer us to join the night to the day, and then each of us shall 
return to his own, or her own, affairs. The cateress, also, again 
interceded for him, saying. By my life I conjure you that ye suffer 
him to pass the night with us, that we may laugh at his drolleries, 
for he is a witty rogue. So they said to him. Thou shalt pass the 
night with us on this condition, that thou submit to our authority, 
and ask not an explanation of anything that thou shalt see. He re- 
plied. Good. — Rise then, said they, and read what is inscribed upon 
the door. Accordingly, he went to the door, and found the following 
inscription upon it in letters of gold. Speak not of that which doth 
not concern thee, lest thou hear that which will not please thee: — 
and he said. Bear witness to my promise that I will not speak of that 
which doth not concern me. 

The cateress then arose, and prepared for them a repast; and, 
after they had eaten a little, they lighted the candles and burned 
some aloes-wood. This done, they sat down again to the table; and, 
while they were eating and drinking, they heard a knocking at the 
door; whereupon, without causing any interruption to their meal, 
one of them went to the door, and, on her return, said. Our pleasure 
this night is now complete, for I have found, at the door, three 
foreigners'* with shaven chins, and each of them is blind of the left 
eye: it is an extraordinary coincidence. They are strangers newly 
arrived, and each of them has a ridiculous appearance : if they come 
in, therefore, we shall be amused with laughing at them. — The lady 
ceased not with these words, but continued to persuade her sisters 
until they consented, and said. Let them enter; but make it a con- 
dition with them that they speak not of that which doth not concern 

[*Or perhaps Kalenderi darwishes.l 


them, lest they hear that which will not please them. Upon this she 
rejoiced, and having gone again to the door, brought in the three 
men blind of one eye and with shaven chins, and they had thin and 
twisted mustaches. Being mendicants, they saluted and drew back; 
but the ladies rose to them, and seated them; and when these three 
men looked at the porter, they saw that he was intoxicated; and, 
observing him narrowly, they thought that he was one of their own 
class, and said, He is a mendicant like ourselves, and will amuse us 
by his conversation: — ^but the porter, hearing what they said, arose, 
and rolled his eyes, and exclaimed to them. Sit quiet, and abstain 
from impertinent remarks. Have ye not read the inscription upon 
the door? — The ladies, laughing, said to each other. Between the 
mendicants and the porter we shall find matter for amusement. 
They then placed before the former some food, and they ate, and 
then sat to drink. The portress handed to them the wine, and, as 
the cup was circulating among them, the porter said to them. 
Brothers, have ye any tale or strange anecdote wherewith to amuse 
us? The mendicants, heated by the wine, asked for musical instru- 
ments; and the portress brought them a tambourine of the manu- 
facture of El-Mosil, with a lute of El-Irak, and a Persian harp; 
whereupon they all arose; and one took the tambourine; another, 
the lute; and the third, the harp: and they played upon these instru- 
ments, the ladies accompanying them with loud songs; and while 
they were thus diverting themselves, a person knocked at the door. 
The portress, therefore, went to see who was there; and the cause of 
the knocking was this. 

The Khalifeh Harun Er-Rashid had gone forth this night to see 
and hear what news he could collect, accompanied by Ja'far his 
Wezir, and Mesrur his executioner. It was his custom to disguise 
himself in the attire of a merchant; and this night, as he went 
through the city, he happened to pass, with his attendants, by the 
house of these ladies, and hearing the sounds of the musical instru- 
ments, he said to Ja'far, I have a desire to enter this house, and to 
see who is giving this concert. — They are a party who have become 
intoxicated, replied Ja'far, and I fear that we may experience some 
ill usage from them; — ^but the Khalifeh said. We must enter, and I 
would that you devise some stratagem by which we may obtain 


admission to the inmates. Ja'far therefore answered, I hear and obey : 
— and he advanced, and knocked at the door; and when the portress 
came and opened the door, he said to her. My mistress, we are mer- 
chants from Tabariyeh,^ and have been in Baghdad ten days; we 
have brought with us merchandise, and taken lodgings in a Khan; 
and a merchant invited us to an entertainment this night: accord- 
ingly, we went to his house, and he placed food before us, and we 
ate, and sat a while drinking together, after which he gave us leave 
to depart; and going out in the dark, and being strangers, we missed 
our way to the Khan: we trust, therefore in your generosity that you 
will admit us to pass the night in your house; by doing which you 
will obtain a reward in heaven. — The portress, looking at them, and 
observing that they were in the garb of merchants, and that they 
bore an appearance of respectability, returned, and consulted her two 
companions; and they said to her. Admit them: — so she returned, 
and opened to them the door. They said to her. Shall we enter with 
thy permission? She answered. Come in. The Khalifeh, therefore, 
entered, with Ja'far and Mesrur; and when the ladies saw them, 
they rose to them, and served them, saying, Welcome are our guests; 
but we have a condition to impose upon you, that ye speak not of 
that which doth not concern you, lest ye hear that which will not 
please you. They answered. Good: — and when they had sat down 
to drink, the Khalifeh looked at the three mendicants, and was sur- 
prised at observing that each of them was blind of the left eye; and 
he gazed upon the ladies, and was perplexed and amazed at their 
fairness and beauty. And when the others proceeded to drink and 
converse, the ladies brought wine to the Khalifeh; but he said, I am 
a pilgrim; — and drew back from them. Whereupon the portress 
spread before him an embroidered cloth, and placed upon it a China 
bottle, into which she poured some willow-flower-water, adding to 
it a lump of ice, and sweetening it with sugar, while the Khalifeh 
thanked her, and said within himself, To-morrow I must reward 
her for this kind action. 

The party continued their carousal, and, when the wine took effect 
upon them, the mistress of the house arose, and waited upon them; 
and afterwards, taking the hand of the cateress, said. Arise, O my 

^ Tiberias. 


sister, that we may fulfil our debt. She replied, Good. The portress 
then rose, and, after she had cleared the middle of the saloon, placed 
the mendicants at the further end, beyond the doors; after which, 
the ladies called to the porter, saying. How slight is thy friendship! 
thou art not a stranger, but one of the family. So the porter arose, 
and girded himself, and said. What would ye ? — to which one of the 
ladies answered. Stand where thou art: — and presently the cateress 
said to him. Assist me: — and he saw two black bitches, with chains 
attached to their necks, and drew them to the middle of the saloon; 
whereupon the mistress of the house arose from her place, and 
tucked up her sleeve above her wrist, and, taking a whip, said to the 
porter, Bring to me one of them. Accordingly, he dragged one for- 
ward by the chain. The bitch whined, and shook her head at the 
lady; but the latter fell to beating her upon the head, notwithstand- 
ing her howling, until her arms were tired, when she threw the whip 
from her hand, and pressed the bitch to her bosom, and wiped away 
her tears, and kissed her head; after which she said to the porter, 
Take her back and bring the other; — and he brought her, and she 
did to her as she had done to the first. At the sight of this, the mind 
of the Khalifeh was troubled, and his heart was contracted, and he 
winked to Ja'far that he should ask her the reason; but he repHed 
by a sign. Speak not. 

The mistress of the house then looked towards the portress and 
said to her, Arise to perform what thou hast to do. She replied. 
Good : — and the mistress of the house seated herself upon a couch of 
alabaster, overlaid with gold and silver, and said to the portress and 
the cateress, Now perform your parts. The portress then seated her- 
self upon a couch by her; and the cateress, having entered a closet, 
brought out from it a bag of satin with green fringes, and, placing 
herself before the lady of the house, shook it, and took out from it 
a lute; and she tuned its strings, and sang to it these verses: — 

Restore to my eyelids the sleep which hath been ravished; and inform 
me of my reason, whither it hath fled. 

I discovered, when I took up my abode with love, that slumber had 
become an enemy to my eyes. 

They said, We saw thee to be one of the upright; what, then, hath se- 
duced thee? I answered. Seek the cause from his glance. 


Verily I excuse him for the shedding of my blood, admitting that I urged 

him to the deed by vexation. 
He cast his sun-like image upon the mirror of my mind, and its reflection 

kindled a flame in my vitals. 

When the portress had heard this song, she exclaimed, Allah 
approve thee! — and she rent her clothes, and fell upon the floor in a 
swoon; and when her bosom was thus uncovered, the Khalifeh saw 
upon her the marks of beating, as if from mikra'ahs^ and whips; at 
which he was greatly surprised. The cateress immediately arose, 
sprinkled water upon her face, and brought her another dress, which 
she put on. The Khalifeh then said to Ja'far, Seest thou not this 
woman, and the marks of beating upon her ? I cannot keep silence 
respecting this affair, nor be at rest, until I know the truth of the 
history of this damsel, and that of these two bitches. But Ja'far 
replied, O our lord, they have made a covenant with us that we shall 
not speak excepting of that which concerneth us, lest we hear that 
which will not please us. — The cateress then took the lute again, 
and, placing it against her bosom, touched the chords with the ends 
of her fingers, and thus sang to it : — 

If of love we complain, what shall we say? Or consuming through de- 
sire, how can we escape? 
Or if we send a messenger to interpret for us, he cannot convey the 

lover's complaint. 
Or if we would be patient, short were our existence after the loss of 

those we love. 
Nought remaineth to us but grief and mourning, and tears streaming 

down our cheeks. 
O you who are absent from my sight, but constantly dwelling within my 

Have you kept your faith to an impassioned lover, who, while time en- 

dureth will never change? 
Or, in absence have you forgotten that lover who, on your account, is 

wasting away? 
When the day of judgment shall bring us together, I will beg of our 

Lord a protractive trial. 

On hearing these verses of the cateress, the portress again rent her 
clothes, and cried out, and fell upon the floor in a swoon; and the 

^ Palm sticks. 


cateress, as before, put on her another dress, after she had sprinkled 
some water upon her face. 

The mendicants, when they witnessed this scene, said. Would 
that we had never entered this house, but rather had passed the night 
upon the [rubbish-] mounds; for our night hath been rendered foul 
by an event that breaketh the back! The Khalifeh, looking towards 
them, then said. Wherefore is it so with you ? They answered. Our 
hearts are troubled by this occurrence. — Are ye not, he asked, of this 
house? — No, they answered; nor did we imagine that this house 
belonged to any but the man who is sitting with you : — upon which 
the porter said. Verily, I have never seen this place before this night; 
and I would that I had passed the night upon the mounds rather 
than here. They then observed, one to another. We are seven men, 
and they are but three women; we will, therefore, ask them of their 
history; and if they answer us not willingly they shall do it in spite of 
themselves: — and they all agreed to this, excepting Ja'far, who said, 
This is not a right determination; leave them to themselves, for we 
are their guests, and they made a covenant with us which we should 
fulfil: there remaineth but little of the night, and each of us shall 
soon go his way. Then, winking to the Khalifeh, he said, There 
remaineth but an hour; and to-morrow we will bring them before 
thee, and thou shalt ask them their story. But the Khalifeh refused 
to do so, and said, I have not patience to wait so long for their history. 
— Words followed words, and at last they said, Who shall put the 
question to them ? — and one answered, The porter. 

The ladies then said to them, O people, of what are ye talking? — 
whereupon the porter approached the mistress of the house, and said 
to her, O my mistress, I ask thee, and conjure thee by Allah, to tell 
us the story of the two bitches, and for what reason thou didst beat 
them, and then didst weep, and kiss them, and that thou acquaint 
us with the cause of thy sister's having been beaten with mikra'ahs : 
that is our question, and peace be on you. — Is this true that he saith 
of you? inquired the lady, of the other men; and they all answered, 
Yes, — excepting Ja'far, who was silent. When the lady heard their 
answer, she said. Verily, O our guests, ye have wronged us exces- 
sively; for we made a covenant with you beforehand, that he who 
should speak' of that which concerned him not should hear that 


which would not please him. Is it not enough that we have admitted 
you into our house, and fed you with our provisions? But it is not 
so much your fault as the fault of her who introduced you to us. — 
She then tucked up her sleeve above her wrist, and struck the floor 
three times, saying, Come ye quickly! — and immediately the door of 
a closet opened, and there came forth from it seven black slaves, 
each having in his hand a drawn sword. The lady said to them. Tie 
behind them the hands of these men of many words, and bind each 
of them to another : — and they did so, and said, O virtuous lady, dost 
thou permit us to strike off their heads ? She answered. Give them 
a short respite, until I shall have inquired of them their histories, 
before ye behead them.— By Allah, O my mistress, exclaimed the 
porter, kill me not for the offence of others : for they have all trans- 
gressed and committed an offence, excepting me. Verily our night 
had been pleasant if we had been preserved from these mendicants, 
whose presence is enough to convert a well-peopled city into a heap 
of ruins! — He then repeated this couplet: — 

How good is it to pardon one able to resist! and how much more so, 

one who is helpless! 
For the sake of the friendship that subsisted between us, destroy not one 

for the crime of another! 

On hearing these words of the porter, the lady laughed after her 
anger. Then approaching the men, she said, Acquaint me with your 
histories, for there remaineth of your lives no more than an hour. 
Were ye not persons of honourable and high condition, or governors, 
I would hasten your recompense.— The Khalifeh said to Ja'far, Woe 
to thee, O Ja'far! make known to her who we are; otherwise she 
will kill us. — It were what we deserve, repHed he. — Jesting, said the 
Khalifeh, is not befitting in a time for seriousness : each has its proper 
occasion. — The lady then approached the mendicants, and said to 
them. Are ye brothers? They answered, No, indeed; we are only 
poor foreigners. She said then to one of them. Wast thou born blind 
of one eye? — ^No, verily, he answered; but a wonderful event hap- 
pened to me when my eye was destroyed, and the story of it, if 
engraved on the understanding, would serve as a lesson to him who 
would be admonished. She asked the second and the third also; 


and they answered her as the first; adding, Each of us is from a 
different country, and our history is wonderful and extraordinary. 
The lady then looked towards them and said, Each of you shall 
relate his story, and the cause of his coming to our abode, and then 
stroke his head, and go his way. 

The first who advanced was the porter, who said, O my mistress, 
I am a porter; and this cateress loaded me, and brought me hither, 
and what hath happened to me here in your company ye know. 
This is my story; and peace be on you. — Stroke thy head, then, said 
she, and go: — ^but he replied, By Allah, I will not go until I shall 
have heard the story of my companions. — The first mendicant then 
advanced, and related as follows: — 

The Story of the First Royal Mendicant 

Know, O my mistress, that the cause of my having shaved my 
beard, and of the loss of my eye, v^^as this: — My father was a King, 
and he had a brother who was also a King, and who resided in 
another capital. It happened that my mother gave birth to me on the 
same day on which the son of my uncle was born; and years and 
days passed away until we attained to manhood. Now, it was my 
custom, some years, to visit my uncle, and to remain with him sev- 
eral months; and on one of these occasions my cousin paid me great 
honour; he slaughtered sheep for me, and strained the wine for 
me, and we sat down to drink; and when the wine had affected us, 
he said to me, O son of my uncle, I have need of thine assistance in 
an affair of interest to me, and I beg that thou wilt not oppose me in 
that which I desire to do. I replied, I am altogether at thy service : — 
and he made me swear to him by great oaths, and, rising imme- 
diately, absented himself for a little while, and then returned, fol- 
lowed by a woman decked with ornaments, and perfumed, and 
wearing a dress of extraordinary value. He looked towards me, 
while the woman stood behind him, and said. Take this woman, 
and go before me to the burial-ground which is in such a place: — 
and he described it to me, and I knew it. He then added. Enter the 
burial-ground, and there wait for me. 

I could not oppose him, nor refuse to comply with his request, 


on account of the oaths which I had sworn to him; so I took the 
woman, and went with her to the burial-ground; and when we had 
sat there a short time, my cousin came, bearing a basin o£ water, 
and a bag containing some plaster, and a small adze. Going to a 
tomb in the midst of the burial-ground, he took the adze, and dis- 
united the stones, which he placed on one side; he then dug up the 
earth with the adze, and uncovered a flat stone, of the size of a 
small door, under which there appeared a vaulted staircase. Having 
done this, he made a sign to the woman, and said to her. Do accord- 
ing to thy choice: — whereupon she descended the stairs. He then 
looked towards me, and said, O son of my uncle, complete thy kind- 
ness when I have descended into this place, by replacing the trap- 
door and the earth above it as they were before: then, this plaster 
which is in the bag, and this water which is in the basin, do thou 
knead together, and plaster the stones of the tomb as they were, so 
that no man may know it, and say, This hath been lately opened, 
but its interior is old : — for, during the space of a whole year I have 
been preparing this, and no one knew it but God: this is what I 
would have thee do. He then said to me. May God never deprive thy 
friends of thy presence, O son of my uncle! — and, having uttered 
these words, he descended the stairs. 

When he had disappeared from before my eyes, I replaced the 
trap-door, and busied myself with doing as he had ordered me, until 
the tomb was restored to the state in which it was at first; after which 
I returned to the palace of my uncle, who was then absent on a 
hunting excursion. I slept that night, and when the morning came, 
I reflected upon what had occurred between me and my cousin, and 
repented of what I had done for him, when repentance was of no 
avail. I then went out to the burial-ground, and searched for the 
tomb; but could not discover it. I ceased not in my search until the 
approach of night; and, not finding the way to it, returned again to 
the palace; and I neither ate nor drank; my heart was troubled 
respecting my cousin, since I knew not what had become of him; 
and I fell into excessive grief. I passed the night sorrowful until the 
morning, and went again to the burial-ground, reflecting upon the 
action of my cousin, and repenting of my compliance with his re- 
quest; and I searched among all the tombs; but discovered not that 


for which I looked. Thus I persevered in my search seven days 
without success. 

My trouble continued and increased until I was almost mad; and 
I found no relief but in departing, and returning to my father; but 
on my arrival at his capital, a party at the city-gate sprang upon me 
and bound me. I was struck with the utmost astonishment, con- 
sidering that I was the son of the Sultan of the city, and that these 
were the servants of my father and of myself: excessive fear of them 
overcame me, and I said within myself. What hath happened to my 
father ? I asked, of those who had bound me, the cause of this con- 
duct; but they returned me no answer, till after a while, when one 
of them, who had been my servant, said to me, Fortune hath 
betrayed thy father, the troops have been false to him, and the Wezir 
hath killed him; and we were lying in wait to take thee. — They took 
me, and I was as one dead, by reason of this news which I had heard 
respecting my father; and I stood before the Wezir who had killed 
my father. 

Now, there was an old enmity subsisting between me and him; 
and the cause of it was this : — I was fond of shooting with the cross- 
bow; and it happened, one day, that as I was standing on the roof 
of my palace, a bird alighted on the roof of the palace of the Wezir, 
who was standing there at the time, and I aimed at the bird; but 
the bullet missed it, and struck the eye of the Wezir, and knocked 
it out, in accordance with the appointment of fate and destiny, as 
the poet hath said : — 

We trod the steps appointed for us: and the man whose steps are ap- 
pointed must tread them. 

He whose death is decreed to take place in one land will not die in any 
land but that. 

When I had thus put out the eye of the Wezir, he could say nothing, 
because my father was King of the city. This was the cause of the 
enmity between him and me: and when I stood before him, with 
my hands bound behind me, he gave the order to strike ofiF my head. 
I said to him, Wouldst thou kill me for no offence ? — What offence, 
he exclaimed, could be greater than this? — and he pointed to the 
place of the eye which was put out. I did that, said I, unintentionally. 


He replied, I£ thou didst it unintentionally, I will do the same to 
thee purposely :— and immediately he said. Bring him forward to 
me:— and, when they had done so, he thrust his finger into my left 
eye, and pulled it out. Thus I became deprived of one eye, as ye see 
me. He then bound me firmly, and placed me in a chest, and said 
to the executioner, Take this fellow, and draw thy sword, and con- 
vey him without the city; then put him to death, and let the wild 
beasts devour him. 

Accordingly, he went forth with me from the city, and, having 
taken me out from the chest, bound hand and foot, was about to 
bandage my eye, and kill me; whereupon I wept, and exclaimed, — 

How many brothers have I taken as armour! and such they were; but to 

guard my enemies. 
I thought they would be as piercing arrows: and such they were; but to 

enter my heart! 

The executioner, who had served my father in the same capacity, 
and to whom I had shewn kindnesses, said, on hearing these verses, 

my master, what can I do, being a slave under command? — but 
presently he added, Depart with thy life, and return not to this 
country, lest thou perish, and cause me to perish with thee. The 
poet saith, — 

Flee with thy life if thou fearest oppression, and leave the house to tell 

its builder's fate. 
Thou wilt find, for the land that thou quittest, another: but no soul wilt 

thou find to replace thine own. 

As soon as he had thus said, I kissed his hands, and believed not 
in my safety until I had fled from his presence. The loss of my eye 
appeared light to me when I considered my escape from death; and 

1 journeyed to my uncle's capital, and, presenting myself before him, 
informed him of what had befallen my father, and of the manner 
in which I had lost my eye: upon which he wept bitterly, and said, 
Thou hast added to my trouble and my grief; for thy cousin hath 
been lost for some days, and I know not what hath happened to him, 
nor can any one give me information respecting him. Then he wept 
again, until he became insensible; and when he recovered, he said, 
O my son, the loss of thine eye is better than the loss of thy life. 


Upon this I could no longer keep silence respecting his son, my 
cousin; so I informed him of all that happened to him; and on 
hearing this news he rejoiced exceedingly, and said, Shew me the 
tomb. — By Allah, O my uncle, I replied, I know not where it is; for 
I went afterwards several times to search for it, and could not recog- 
nize its place. We, however, went together to the burial-ground, 
and, looking to the right and left, I discovered it; and both I and 
my uncle rejoiced. I then entered the tomb with him, and when we 
had removed the earth, and lifted up the trap-door, we descended 
fifty steps, and, arriving at the bottom of the stairs, there issued 
forth upon us a smoke which blinded our eyes; whereupon my uncle 
pronounced those words which relieve from fear him who uttereth 
them, — There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the 
Great! — After this, we proceeded, and found ourselves in a saloon, 
filled with flour and grain, and various eatables; and we saw there 
a curtain suspended over a couch, upon which my uncle looked, 
and found there his son and the woman who had descended with 
him, lying side by side, and converted into black charcoal, as if they 
had been thrown into a pit of fire. And when he beheld this spec- 
tacle, he spat in his son's face, and exclaimed, This is what thou 
deservest, O thou wretch! This is the punishment of the present 
world, and there remaineth the punishment of the other world, 
which will be more severe and lasting! — and he struck him with his 
shoes. Astonished at this action, and grieved for my cousin, seeing 
him and the damsel thus converted into charcoal, I said, By Allah, 
O my uncle, moderate the trouble of thy heart, for my mind is per- 
plexed by that which hath happened to thy son, and by thinking how 
it hath come to pass that he and the damsel are converted into black 
charcoal. Dost thou not deem it enough for him to be in this state, 
that thou beatest him with thy shoes? 

O son of my brother, he replied, this my son was, from his early 
years, inflamed with love for his [foster-] sister, and I used to forbid 
him from entertaining this passion for her, and to say within myself. 
They are now children, but when they grow older a base act will 
be committed by them: — and, indeed, I heard that such had been 
the case, but I believed it not. I, however, reprimanded him severely, 
and said to him, Beware of so foul an action, which none before thee 



hath committed, nor will any commit after thee: otherwise we shall 
suffer disgrace and disparagement among the Kings until we die, 
and our history will spread abroad with the caravans: have a care for 
thyself that such an action proceed not from thee; for I should be 
incensed against thee, and kill thee. I then separated him from her, 
and her from him: but the vile woman loved him excessively; the 
Devil got possession of them both; and when my son saw that I had 
separated him, he secretly made this place beneath the earth, and, 
having conveyed hither the provisions which thou seest, took advan- 
tage of my inadvertence when I had gone out to hunt, and came 
hither; but the Truth (whose perfection be extolled, and whose name 
be exalted!) was jealously vigilant over them, and consumed them 
by fire; and the punishment of the world to come will be more 
severe and lasting. — He then wept, and I wept with him; and he 
said to me, Thou art my son in his stead. — I remained a while 
reflecting upon the world and its vicissitudes, upon the murder of 
my father by the Wezir, and his usurping his throne, and the loss of 
my eye, and the strange events which had happened to my cousin, 
and I wept again. 

We then ascended, and, having replaced the trap-door and the 
earth above it, and restored the tomb to its former state, returned 
to our abode; but scarcely had we seated ourselves when we heard 
the sounds of drums and trumpets, warriors galloped about, and the 
air was filled with dust raised by the horses' hoofs. Our minds were 
perplexed, not knowing what had happened, and the King, asking 
the news, was answered. The Wezir of thy brother hath slain him 
and his soldiers and guards, and come with his army to assault the 
city unawares; and the inhabitants, being unable to withstand, have 
submitted to him: — whereupon I said within myself. If I fall into 
his hand, he will slay me. — Griefs overwhelmed me, and I thought 
of the calamities which had befallen my father and my mother, and 
knew not what to do; for if I appeared, the people of the city would 
know me, and the troops of my father would hasten to kill and de- 
stroy me. I knew no way of escape but to shave off my beard; so I 
shaved it, and, having changed my clothes, departed from the city, 
and came hither, to this abode of peace, in the hope that some person 
would introduce me to the Prince of the Faithful, the Khalifeh of 


the Lord of all creatures, that I might relate to him my story, and 
all that had befallen me. I arrived in this city this night; and as I 
stood perplexed, not knowing whither to direct my steps, I saw this 
mendicant, and saluted him, and said, I am a stranger. He replied. 
And I, too, am a stranger : — and while we were thus addressing each 
other, our companion, this third person, came up to us, and, saluting 
us, said, I am a stranger. We replied. And we, also, are strangers. 
So we walked on together, and darkness overtook us, and destiny 
directed us unto your abode : — This was the cause of the shaving of 
my beard, and of the loss of my eye. 

The lady then said to him, Stroke thy head, and depart; — ^but he 
replied, I will not depart until I have heard the stories of the others. 
And they wondered at his tale; and the Khalifeh said to Jafar, 
Verily I have never known the like of that which hath happened 
to this mendicant. 

The second mendicant then advanced, and, having kissed the 
ground, said, — 

The Story of the Second Royal Mendicant 

O MY mistress, I was not born with only one eye; but my story 
is wonderful, and, if written, would serve as a lesson to him who 
would be admonished. I am a King, and son of a King: I read the 
Kur'an according to the seven readings, and perused various works 
under the tuition of different learned professors of their subjects: I 
studied the science of the stars, and the writings of the poets, and 
made myself a proficient in all the sciences; so that I surpassed the 
people of my age. My hand-writing was extolled among all the 
scribes, my fame spread among all countries, and my history among 
all Kings; and the King of India, hearing of me, requested my father 
to allow me to visit him, sending him various gifts and curious pres- 
ents, such as were suitable to Kings. My father, therefore, prepared 
for me six ships, and we proceeded by sea for the space of a whole 
month, after which we came to land; and, having disembarked some 
horses which we had with us in the ship, we loaded ten camels with 
presents, and commenced our journey; but soon there appeared a 
cloud of dust, which rose and spread until it filled the air before us, 


and, after a while, cleared a little, and discovered to us, in the midst 
of it, sixty horsemen like fierce lions, whom we perceived to be Arab 
highwaymen; and when they saw us, that we were a small company 
with ten loads of presents for the King of India, they galloped 
towards us, pointing their spears at us. We made signs to them with 
our fingers, and said. We are ambassadors to the honoured King of 
India; therefore do us no injury: — but they repUed, We are not in 
his territories, nor under his government. They slew certain of the 
young men, and the rest fled. I also fled, after I had received a severe 
wound; the Arabs being employed, without further regard to us, in 
taking possession of the treasure and presents which we had with us. 
I proceeded without knowing whither to direct my course, reduced 
from a mighty to an abject state, and journeyed till I arrived at the 
summit of a mountain, where I took shelter in a cavern until the 
next morning. I then resumed my journey, and arrived at a flourish- 
ing city: the winter, with its cold, had passed away, and the spring 
had come, with its flowers; and I rejoiced at my arrival there, being 
wearied with my journey, anxious and pallid. My condition being 
thus changed, I knew not whither to bend my steps; and, turning 
to a tailor sitting in his shop, I saluted him, and he returned my 
salutation, and welcomed me, and wished me joy, asking me the 
reason of my having come thither. I acquainted him, therefore, 
with what had befallen me from first to last, and he was grieved for 
me, and said, O young man, reveal not thy case, for I fear what the 
King of this city might do to thee, since he is the greatest of thy 
father's enemies, and hath a debt of blood against him. He then 
placed some food and drink before me, and we ate together, and I 
conversed with him till night, when he lodged me in a place by his 
shop, and brought me a bed and coverlet; and, after I had remained 
with him three days, he said to me, Dost thou not know any trade by 
which to make gain ? I answered, I am acquainted with the law, a 
student of sciences, a writer, and an arithmetician. — Thy occupation, 
he said, is profitless in our country: there is no one in our city 
acquainted with science or writing, but only with getting money. 
Verily, I replied, I know nothing but what I have told thee. — Gird 
thyself, then, said he, and take an axe and a rope, and cut firewood 
in the desert, and so obtain thy subsistence until God dispel thy 


affliction; but acquaint no one with thy history, else they will kill 
thee. He then bought for me an axe and a rope, and sent me with 
a party of wood-cutters, giving them a charge respecting me. Accord- 
ingly, I went forth with them, and cut some wood, and brought 
back a load upon my head, and sold it for half a piece of gold, part 
of which I expended in food, laying by the remainder. 

Thus I continued for the space of a year, after which I went one 
day into the desert, according to my custom, to cut firewood; and, 
finding there a tract with abundance of wood, I entered it, and came 
to a tree, around which I dug; and as I was removing the earth from 
its roots, the axe struck against a ring of brass; and I cleared away 
the earth from it, and found that it was affixed to a trap-door of 
wood, which I immediately removed. Beneath it appeared a stair- 
case, which I descended; and at the bottom of this I entered a door, 
and beheld a palace, strongly constructed, where I found a lady, Hke 
a pearl of high price, whose aspect banished from the heart all 
anxiety and grief and affliction. At the sight of her I prostrated my- 
self in adoration of her Creator for the fairness and beauty which 
He had displayed in her person; and she, looking towards me, said. 
Art thou a man or a Jinni ? I answered her, I am a man. — And who, 
she asked, hath brought thee to this place, in which I have lived five 
and twenty years without ever seeing a human being? — Her words 
sounded sweetly to me, and I answered her, O my mistress, God 
hath brought me to thy abode, and I hope will put an end to my 
anxiety and grief: — and I related to her my story from beginning 
to end. She was grieved at my case, and wept, and said, I also will 
acquaint thee with my story. Know that I am the daughter of the 
King of the further parts of India, the lord of the Ebony Island. My 
father had married me to the son of my uncle; but on the night of 
my bridal festivities, an *Efrit named Jarjaris, the son of Rejmus, the 
son of Iblis, carried me off, and, soaring with me through the air, 
alighted in this place, to which he conveyed all things necessary for 
me, such as ornaments, and garments, and linen, and furniture, and 
food, and drink; and once in every ten days he cometh to me, and 
spendeth a night here; and he hath appointed with me, that, in case 
of my wanting any thing by night or day, I should touch with my 
hand these two lines which are inscribed upon the kubbeh, and as 


soon as I remove my hand I see him before me. Four days have now 
passed since he was last with me, and there remain, therefore, six 
days before he will come again; wilt thou then remain with me five 
days, and depart one day before his visit? — I answered. Yes; — rejoic- 
ing at the proposal; and she arose, and, taking me by the hand, con- 
ducted me through an arched door to a small and elegant bath, where 
I took off my clothes, while she seated herself upon a mattress. 
After this, she seated me by her side, and brought me some sherbet 
of sugar infused with musk, and handed it to me to drink : she then 
placed some food before me, and after we had eaten and conversed 
together, she said to me. Sleep, and rest thyself; for thou are fatigued. 

I slept, O my mistress, and forgot all that had befallen me; and 
when I awoke, I found her rubbing my feet; upon which I called 
to her, and we sat down again and conversed awhile; and she said 
to me. By Allah, I was straitened in my heart, living here alone, with- 
out any person to talk with me, five and twenty years. Praise be 
to God who hath sent thee to me. — I thanked her for her kind expres- 
sions; and love of her took possession of my heart, and my anxiety 
and grief fled away. We then sat down to drink together; and I 
remained by her side all the night, delighted with her company, for 
I had never seen her like in my whole life; and in the morning, 
when we were both full of joy, I said to her. Shall I take thee up from 
this subterranean place, and release thee from the Jinni? But she 
laughed, and replied. Be content, and hold thy peace; for, of every 
ten days, one day shall be for the *Efrit, and nine for thee. I per- 
sisted, however, being overcome with passion; and said, I will this 
instant demolish this kubbeh upon which the inscription is engraved, 
and let the 'Efrit come, that I may slay him: for I am predestined 
to kill 'Efrits. She entreated me to refrain; but, paying no attention 
to her words, I kicked the kubbeh with violence; upon which she 
exclaimed. The 'Efrit hath arrived! Did I not caution thee against 
this? Verily thou hast brought a calamity upon me; but save thy- 
self, and ascend by the way that thou camest. 

In the excess of my fear I forgot my sandals and my axe, and 
when I had ascended two steps, turning round to look for them, I 
saw that the ground had opened, and there rose from it an 'Efrit 
of hideous aspect, who said. Wherefore is this disturbance with 


which thou hast alarmed me, and what misfortune hath befallen 
thee ? She answered, No misfortune hath happened to me, excepting 
that my heart was contracted, and I desired to drink some wine to 
dilate it, and, rising to perform my purpose, I fell against the kubbeh. 
— Thou liest, vile woman, he exclaimed; — and, looking about the 
palace to the right and left, he saw the sandals and axe; and said 
to her. These are the property of none but a man. Who hath visited 
thee? — I have not seen them, she answered, until this instant: prob- 
ably they caught to thee. — This language, said he, is absurd, and will 
have no eflect upon me, thou shameless woman! — and, so saying, 
he stripped her of her clothing, and tied her down, with her arms 
and legs extended, to four stakes, and began to beat her, urging her 
to confess what had happened. 

For myself, being unable to endure her cries, I ascended the stairs, 
overpowered by fear, and, arriving at the top, replaced the trap-door 
as it was at first, and covered it over with earth. I repented bitterly 
of what I had done, and reflecting upon the lady and her beauty, 
and how this wretch was torturing her after she had lived with him 
five and twenty years, and that he tortured her only on my account, 
and reflecting also upon my father and his kingdom, and how I had 
been reduced to the condition of a wood-cutter, I repeated this 
verse : — 

When fortune bringeth thee affliction, console thyself by remembering 
that one day thou must see prosperity, and another day, difficulty. 

Returning to my companion, the tailor, I found him awaiting my 
return as if he were placed in a pan upon burning coals. I passed last 
night, said he, with anxious heart on thy account, fearing for thee 
from some wild beast or other calamity. Praise be to God for thy 
safe return. — I thanked him for his tender concern for me, and 
entered my apartment; and as I sat meditating upon that which had 
befallen me, and blaming myself for having kicked the kubbeh, my 
friend the tailor came in to me, and said. In the shop is a foreigner, 
who asks for thee, and he has thy axe and sandals; he came with 
them to the wood-cutters, and said to them, I went out at the time 
of the call of the Mu'eddin to morning-prayer, and stumbled upon 
these, and know not to whom they belong : can ye guide me to their 


owner? — The wood-cutters, therefore, directed him to thee: he is 
sitting in my shop; so go out to him and thank him, and take thy 
axe and thy sandals. — On hearing these words, my countenance 
turned pale, and my whole state became changed; and while I was 
in this condition, the floor of my chamber clove asunder, and there 
rose from it the stranger, and lo, he was the 'Efrit; he had tortured 
the lady with the utmost cruelty; but she would confess nothing: 
so he took the axe and the sandals, and said to her. If I am Jarjaris, 
of the descendants of IbUs, I will bring the owner of this axe and 
these sandals. Accordingly, he came, with the pretence before men- 
tioned, to the wood-cutters, and, having entered my chamber with- 
out granting me any delay, seized me, and soared with me through 
the air : he then descended, and dived into the earth, and brought me 
up into the place where I was before. 

Here I beheld the lady stripped of her clothing, and with blood 
flowing from her sides; and tears trickled from my eyes. The *Efrit 
then took hold of her, and said. Vile woman, this is thy lover: — 
whereupon she looked at me, and replied, I know him not, nor have 
I ever seen him until this instant. The 'Efrit said to her. With all 
this torture wilt thou not confess? She answered. Never in my life 
have I seen him before, and it is not lawful in the sight of God that 
I should speak falsely against him. — Then, said he, if thou know 
him not, take this sword and strike ofif his head. She took the 
sword, and came to me, and stood over my head : but I made a sign 
to her with my eyebrow, while tears ran down my cheeks. She 
repHed in a similar manner. Thou art he who hath done all this to 
me: — I made a sign to her, however, that this was a time for pardon, 
conveying my meaning in the manner thus described by the poet : — 

Our signal in love is the glance of our eyes; and every intelligent person 

understandeth the sign. 
Our eyebrows carry on an intercourse between us: we are silent; but love 


And when she understood me, she threw the sword from her hand, 
O my mistress, and the 'Efrit handed it to me, saying, Strike off her 
head, and I will liberate thee, and do thee no harm. I replied, Good : 
—and, quickly approaching her, raised my hand; but she made a 


sign as though she would say, I did no injury to thee: — whereupon 
my eyes poured with tears, and, throwing down the sword, I said, 

mighty 'Efrit, and vaUant hero, if a woman, deficient in sense and 
reUgion, seeth it not lawful to strike off my head, how is it lawful 
for me to do so to her, and especially when I have never seen her 
before in my life ? I will never do it, though I should drink the cup 
of death and destruction. — There is affection between you, said the 
'Efrit, and, taking the sword, he struck off one of the hands of the 
lady; then, the other; after this, her right foot; and then, her left 
foot: thus with four blows he cut off her four extremities, while I 
looked on, expecting my own death. She then made a sign to me 
with her eye; and the 'Efrit, observing her, exclaimed, Now thou 
hast been guilty of incontinence with thine eye! — and, with a blow 
of his sword, struck off her head; after which, he turned towards me, 
and said, O man, it is allowed us by our law, if a wife be guilty of 
incontinence, to put her to death. This woman I carried off on her 
wedding-night, when she was twelve years of age, and she was 
acquainted with no man but me; and I used to pass one night with 
her in the course of every ten days in the garb of a foreigner; and 
when I discovered of a certainty that she had been unfaithful to me, 

1 killed her: but as for thee, I am not convinced that thou hast 
wronged me with respect to her; yet I must not leave thee unpun- 
ished: choose, therefore, what injury I shall do to thee. 

Upon this, O my mistress, I rejoiced exceedingly, and, eager to 
obtain his pardon, I said to him. What shall I choose from thy 
hands? — Choose he answered, into what form I shall change thee; 
either the form of a dog, or that of an ass, or that of an ape. I replied, 
in my desire of forgiveness. Verily, if thou wilt pardon me, God will 
pardon thee in recompense for thy shewing mercy to a Muslim who 
hath done thee no injury: — and I humbled myself in the most abject 
manner, and said to him. Pardon me as the envied man did the 
envier. — ^And how was that? said he. I answered as follows: — 

The Story of the Envier and the Envied 

Know, O my master, that there was a certain man who had a 
neighbour that envied him; and the more this person envied him, 


so much the more did God increase the prosperity o£ the former. 
Thus it continued a long time; but when the envied man found that 
his neighbour persisted in troubUng him, he removed to a place 
where there was a deserted well; and there he built for himself an 
oratory, and occupied himself in the worship of God. Numerous 
Fakirs® assembled around him, and he acquired great esteem, people 
repairing to him from every quarter, placing firm reliance upon his 
sanctity; and his fame reached the ears of his envious neighbour, 
who mounted his horse, and went to visit him; and when the envied 
man saw him, he saluted him, and payed him the utmost civility. 
The envier then said to him, I have come hither to inform thee of 
a matter in which thou wilt find advantage, and for which I shall 
obtain a recompense in heaven. The envied man replied. May God 
requite thee for me with every blessing. Then, said the envier, order 
the Fakirs to retire to their cells, for the information that I am about 
to give thee I would have no one overhear. So he ordered them to 
enter their cells; and the envier said to him, Arise, and let us walk 
together, and converse; and they walked on until they came to the 
deserted well before mentioned, when the envier pushed the envied 
man into this well, without the knowledge of any one, and went 
his way, imagining that he had killed him. 

But this well was inhabited by Jinn, who received him unhurt, 
and seated him upon a large stone; and when they had done this, 
one of them said to the others. Do ye know this man? They an- 
swered. We know him not. — This, said he, is the envied man who 
fled from him who envied him, and took up his abode in this 
quarter, in the neighbouring oratory, and who entertaineth us by his 
zikr^ and his readings; and when his envier heard of him, he came 
hither to him, and, devising a stratagem against him, threw him 
down here. His fame hath this night reached the Sultan of this 
city, who hath purposed to visit him to-morrow, on account of the 
affliction which hath befallen his daughter. — And what, said they, 
hath happened to his daughter? He answered. Madness; for Mey- 
mun, the son of Demdem, hath become inflamed with love for her; 
and her cure is the easiest of things. They asked him. What is it ? — 

® Poor persons who especially occupy themselves in religious exercises. 
^ Zikrs consist in repeating the name of God, or the profession of his unity, etc., in 
chorus, accompanying the words by certain motions of the head, hands, or whole body. 


and he answered, The black cat that is with him in the oratory hath 
at the end of her tail a white spot, o£ the size of a piece of silver; and 
from this white spot should be taken seven hairs, and with these 
the damsel should be fumigated, and the Marid would depart from 
over her head, and not return to her; so she would be instantly cured. 
And now it is our duty to take him out. 

When the morning came, the Fakirs saw the sheykh rising out of 
the well; and he became magnified in their eyes. And when he 
entered the oratory, he took from the white spot at the end of the 
cat's tail seven hairs, and placed them in a portfolio by him; and at 
sunrise the King came to him, and when the sheykh saw him, he 
said to him, O King, thou hast come to visit me in order that I may 
cure thy daughter. The King replied. Yes, O virtuous Sheykh. — 
Then, said the sheykh, send some person to bring her hither; and 
I trust in God, whose name be exalted, that she may be instantly 
cured. And when the King had brought his daughter, the sheykh 
beheld her bound, and, seating her, suspended a curtain over her, 
and took out the hairs, and fumigated her with them; whereupon 
the Marid cried out from over her head, and left her; and the damsel 
immediately recovered her reason, and, veiling her face, said to her 
father. What is this, and wherefore didst thou bring me to this 
place? He answered her. Thou hast nothing to fear; — and rejoiced 
greatly. He kissed the hand of the envied sheykh, and said to the 
great men of his court who were with him. What shall be the recom- 
pense of this sheykh for that which he hath done? They answered. 
His recompense should be that thou marry him to her. — Ye 
have spoken truly, said the King: — and he gave her in marriage 
to him, and thus the sheykh became a connection of the King; 
and after some days the King died, and he was made King in 
his place. 

And it happened one day that this envied King was riding with his 
troops, and he saw his envier approaching; and when this man came 
before him he seated him upon a horse with high distinction and 
honour, and, taking him to his palace, gave him a thousand pieces 
of gold, and a costly dress; after which he sent him back from the 
city, with attendants to escort him to his house, and reproached him 
for nothing. — Consider, then, O 'Efrit, the pardon of the envied to 


the envier, and his kindness to him, notwithstanding the injuries 
he had done him. — 

The *Efrit, when he had heard this story, repUed, Lengthen not thy 
words to me: as to my kiUing thee, fear it not; and as to my pardon- 
ing thee, covet it not; but as to my enchanting thee, there is no escape 
from it; — and, so saying, he clove the earth asunder, and soared with 
me through the sky to such a height that I beheld the world beneath 
me as though it were a bowl of water; then, alighting upon a moun- 
tain, he took up a little dust, and, having muttered and pronounced 
certain words over it, sprinkled me with it, saying. Quit this form, 
and take the form of an ape! — whereupon I became like an ape of a 
hundred years of age. 

When I saw myself changed into this ugly form, I wept for myself, 
but determined to be patient under the tyranny of fortune, know- 
ing it to be constant to no one. I descended from the summit of the 
mountain, and, after having journeyed for the space of a month, 
arrived at the sea-shore; and, when I had stood there a short time, I 
saw a vessel in the midst of the sea, with a favourable wind approach- 
ing the land; I therefore hid myself behind a rock on the beach, and 
when the ship came close up, I sprang into the midst of it. But as 
soon as the persons on board saw me, one of them cried. Turn out 
this unlucky brute from the ship : — another said. Let us kill him : — 
and a third exclaimed, I will kill him with this sword. I, however, 
caught hold of the end of the sword, and tears flowed from my eyes; 
at the sight of which the captain took compassion on me, and said 
to the passengers, O merchants, this ape hath sought my aid, and I 
give it him; he is under my protection; let no one, therefore, oppose 
or trouble him. He then treated me with kindness, and whatever he 
said to me I understood, and all that he required to be done I per- 
formed as his servant. 

We continued our voyage for fifty days with a fair wind, and cast 
anchor under a large city containing a population which no one but 
God, whose name be exalted, could reckon; and when we had 
moored our vessel, there came to us some memluks from the King 
of the city, who came on board the ship, and complimented the mer- 
chants on their safe arrival, saying, Our King greeteth you, rejoicing 


in your safety, and hath sent to you this roll of paper, desiring that 
each of you shall write a line upon it; for the King had a Wezir who 
was an eminent calligraphist, and he is dead, and the King hath 
sworn that he will not appoint any person to his office who cannot 
write equally well. Though in the form of an ape, I arose and 
snatched the paper from their hands; upon which, fearing that I 
would tear it and throw it into the sea, they cried out against me, 
and would have killed me; but I made signs to them that I would 
write, and the captain said to them, Suffer him to write, and if he 
scribble we will turn him away; but if he write well I will adopt 
him as my son; for I have never seen a more intelligent ape. So I 
took the pen, and demanded the ink, and wrote in an epistolary 
hand this couplet : — 

Fame hath recorded the virtues of the noble; but no one hath been able 

to reckon thine. 
May God not deprive mankind of such a father; for thou art the parent 

of every excellence. 

Then, in a more formal, large hand, I wrote the following verses: — 

There is no writer that shall not perish; but what his hand hath written 

endureth ever. 
Write, therefore, nothing but what will please thee when thou shalt see 

it on the day of resurrection. 

Two other specimens I wrote, in two different and smaller hands, 
and returned the paper to the memluks, who took it back to the 
King; and when he saw what was written upon it, the hand of no 
one pleased him excepting mine; and he said to his attendants, Go 
to the author of this hand-writing, put upon him this dress, and 
mount him upon a mule, and conduct him, with the band of music 
before him, to my presence. On hearing this order, they smiled; 
and the King was angry with them, and said. How is it that I give 
you an order, and ye laugh at me? They answered, O King, we 
laugh not at thy words, but because he who wrote this is an ape, and 
not a son of Adam : he is with the captain of the ship newly arrived. 
The King was astonished at their words; he shook with delight, 
and said, I would purchase this ape. He then sent some messengers 
to the ship, with the mule and the dress of honour, saying to them, 


Ye must clothe him with this dress, and mount him upon the mule, 
and bring him hither. So they came to the ship, and, taking me from 
the captain, clad me with the dress; and the people were astonished, 
and flocked to amuse themselves with the sight of me. And when 
they brought me to the King, and I beheld him, I kissed the ground 
before him three times, and he ordered me to sit down: so I sat 
down upon my knees; and the persons present were surprised at 
my polite manners, and especially the King, who presently ordered 
his people to retire. They, therefore, did so; none remaining but the 
King, and a eunuch, and a young memluk, and myself. The King 
then commanded that a repast should be brought; and they placed 
before him a service of viands, such as gratified the appetite and 
delighted the eye; and the King made a sign to me that I should 
eat; whereupon I arose, and, having kissed the ground before him 
seven times, sat down to eat with him; and when the table was 
removed, I washed my hands, and, taking the ink-case, and pen and 
paper, I wrote these two verses: — 

Great is my appetite for thee, O Kunafeh!^ I cannot be happy nor en- 
dure without thee. 

Be thou every day and night my food; and may drops of honey not be 
wanting to moisten thee. 

Having done this, I arose, and seated myself at a distance; and the 
King, looking at what I had written, read it with astonishment, and 
exclaimed. Can an ape possess such fluency and such skill in cal- 
ligraphy? This is, indeed, a wonder of wonders! — Afterwards, a 
chess-table was brought to the King, and he said to me. Wilt thou 
play? By a motion of my head I answered. Yes: — and I advanced, 
and arranged the pieces. I played with him twice, and beat him; 
and the King was perplexed, and said, Were this a man, he would 
surpass all the people of his age. 

He then said to his eunuch. Go to thy mistress, and say to her. 
Answer the summons of the King: — that she may come and gratify 
her curiosity by the sight of this wonderful ape. The eunuch, there- 
fore, went, and returned with his mistress, the King's daughter, who, 

^A kind of pastry resembling vermicelli, made of wheat-flour. It is moistened 
with clarified butter — then baked, and sweetened with honey or sugar. 


as soon as she saw me, veiled her face, and said, O my father, how 
is it that thou art pleased to send for me and sufFer strange men to 
see me? — O my daughter, answered the King, there is no one here 
but the young memluk, and the eunuch who brought thee up, and 
this ape, with myself, thy father: from whom, then, dost thou veil 
thy face? — This ape, said she, is the son of a King, and the name 
of his father is Eymar: he is enchanted, and it was the 'Efrit Jarjaris, 
a descendant of Iblis, who transformed him, after having slain his 
own wife, the daughter of King Aknamus. This, whom thou sup- 
posedst to be an ape, is a learned and wise man. — The King was 
amazed at his daughter's words, and, looking towards me, said, Is 
it true that she saith of thee ? I answered, by a motion of my head, 
Yes: — and wept. The King then said to his daughter, By what 
means didst thou discover that he was enchanted? — O my father, 
she answered, I had with me, in my younger years, an old woman 
who was a cunning enchantress, and she taught me the art of 
enchantment: I have committed its rules to memory, and know it 
thoroughly, being acquainted with a hundred and seventy modes of 
performing it, by the least of which I could transport the stones of 
thy city beyond Mount Kaf, and make its site to be an abyss of the 
sea, and convert its inhabitants into fish in the midst of it. — I conjure 
thee, then, by the name of Allah, said her father, to restore this 
young man, that I may make him my Wezir. Is it possible that 
thou possessedst this excellence, and I knew it not ? Restore him, that 
I may make him my Wezir, for he is a poUte and intelHgent 

She replied. With pleasure: — and, taking a knife upon which were 
engraved some Hebrew names, marked with it a circle in the midst 
of the palace. Within this she wrote certain names and talismans, 
and then she pronounced invocations, and uttered unintelligible 
words; and soon the palace around us became immersed in gloom 
to such a degree, that we thought the whole world was overspread; 
and lo, the *Efrit appeared before us in a most hideous shape, with 
hands like winnowing-forks, and legs like masts, and eyes like burn- 
ing torches; so that we were terrified at him. The King's daughter 
exclaimed. No welcome to thee! — to which the 'Efrit, assuming the 
form of a lion, replied. Thou traitress, how is it that thou hast broken 


thine oath? Did we not swear that we would not oppose one an- 
other? — Thou wretch, said she, when didst thou receive an oath? — 
The 'Efrit, still in the form of a lion, then exclaimed, Take what 
awaiteth thee! — and, opening his mouth, rushed upon the lady; but 
she instantly plucked a hair from her head and muttered with her 
lips, whereupon the hair became converted into a piercing sword, 
with which she struck the lion, and he was cleft in twain by the 
blow; but his head became changed into a scorpion. The lady imme- 
diately transformed herself into an enormous serpent, and crept after 
the execrable wretch in the shape of a scorpion, and a sharp contest 
ensued between them; after which, the scorpion became an eagle, 
and the serpent, changing to a vulture, pursued the eagle for a length 
of time. The latter then transformed himself into a black cat, and 
the King's daughter became a wolf, and they fought together long 
and fiercely, till the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed himself 
into a large red pomegranate, which fell into a pool; but, the wolf 
pursuing it, it ascended into the air, and then fell upon the pavement 
of the palace, and broke in pieces, its grains becoming scattered, each 
apart from the others, and all spread about the whole space of 
ground enclosed by the palace. The wolf, upon this, transformed 
itself into a cock, in order to pick up the grains, and not leave one of 
them; but, according to the decree of fate, one grain remained hidden 
by the side of the pool of the fountain. The cock began to cry, and 
flapped its wings, and made a sign to us with its beak; but we under- 
stood not what it would say. It then uttered at us such a cry, that 
we thought the palace had fallen down upon us; and it ran about the 
whole of the ground, until it saw the grain that had lain hid by the 
side of the pool, when it pounced upon it, to pick it up; but it fell 
into the midst of the water, and became transformed into a fish, and 
sank into the water; upon which the cock became a fish of a larger 
size, and plunged in after the other. For a while it was absent from 
our sight; but, at length, we heard a loud cry, and trembled at the 
sound; after which, the 'Efrit rose as a flame of fire, casting fire from 
his mouth, and fire and smoke from his eyes and nostrils : the King's 
daughter also became as a vast body of fire; and we would have 
plunged into the water from fear of our being burnt and destroyed; 
but suddenly the 'Efrit cried out from within the fire, and came 


towards us upon the liwan,^ blowing fire at our faces. The lady, 
however, overtook him, and blew fire in like manner in his face; 
and some sparks struck us both from her and from him: her sparks 
did us no harm; but one from him struck me in my eye, and de- 
stroyed it, I being still in the form of an ape; and a spark from him 
reached the face of the King, and burned the lower half, with his 
beard and mouth, and struck out his lower teeth : another spark also 
fell upon the breast of the eunuch; who was burnt, and died imme- 
diately. We expected destruction, and gave up all hope of preserv- 
ing our lives; but while we were in this state, a voice exclaimed, God 
is most great! God is most great! He hath conquered and aided, and 
abandoned the denier of the faith of Mohammad, the chief of man- 
kind.^° — The person from whom this voice proceeded was the King's 
daughter: she had burnt the *Efrit; and when we looked towards 
him, we perceived that he had become a heap of ashes. 

The lady then came to us, and said. Bring me a cup of water: — 
and when it was brought to her, she pronounced over it some words 
which we understood not, and, sprinkling me with it, said, Be 
restored, by virtue of the name of the Truth, and by virtue of the 
most great name of God, to thy original form! — whereupon I became 
a man as I was at first, excepting that my eye was destroyed. After 
this, she cried out. The fire! the fire! O my father, I shall no longer 
live, for I am predestined to be killed. Had he been a human being, 
I had killed him at the first of the encounter. I experienced no diffi- 
culty till the scattering of the grains of the pomegranate, when I 
picked them up excepting the one in which was the life of the Jinni : 
had I picked up that, he had instantly died; but I saw it not, as fate 
and destiny had appointed; and suddenly he came upon me, and a 
fierce contest ensued between us under the earth, and in the air, and 
in the water; and every time that he tried against me a new mode, I 
employed against him one more potent, until he tried against me the 
mode of fire; and rarely does one escape against whom the mode of 
fire is employed. Destiny, however, aided me, so that I burned him 
first; but I exhorted him previously to embrace the faith of El-Islam. 
Now I die; and may God supply my place to you. — Having thus 

^Dais. ^<*This was, and I believe still is, a common battle-cry of the Arabs, and 
more commonly used on the occasion of a victory. 



said, she ceased not to pray for relief from the fire; and lo, a spark 
ascended to her breast, and thence to her face; and when it reached 
her face, she wept, and exclaimed, I testify that there is no deity but 
God, and I testify that Mohammad is God's Apostle! — We then 
looked towards her, and saw that she had become a heap of ashes 
by the side of the ashes of the 'Efrit. 

We were plunged into grief on her account, and I wished that 
I had been in her place rather than have seen that sweet-faced crea- 
ture who had done me this kindness reduced to a heap of ashes : but 
the decree of God cannot be averted. The King, on beholding his 
daughter in this state, plucked out what remained of his beard, and 
slapped his face, and rent his clothes; and I also did the same, while 
we both wept for her. Then came the chamberlains and other great 
officers of the court, who, finding the King in a state of insensibility, 
with two heaps of ashes before him, were astonished, and remained 
encompassing him until he recovered from his fit, when he informed 
them of what had befallen his daughter with the 'Efrit; and great 
was their affliction. The women shrieked, with the female slaves, 
and continued their mourning seven days. After this, the King gave 
orders to build, over the ashes of his daughter, a great tomb with 
a dome, and illuminated it with candles and lamps : but the ashes of 
the 'Efrit they scattered in the wind, exposing them to the curse of 
God. The King then fell sick, and was near unto death: his illness 
lasted a month; but after this he recovered his health, and, summon- 
ing me to his presence, said to me, O young man, we passed our days 
in the enjoyment of the utmost happiness, secure from the vicissi- 
tudes of fortune, until thou camest to us, when troubles overcame us. 
Would that we had never seen thee, nor thy ugly form, on account 
of which we have been reduced to this state of privation; for, in the 
first place, I have lost my daughter, who was worth a hundred men; 
and, secondly, I have suffered this burning, and lost my teeth: my 
eunuch also is dead: but it was not in thy power to prevent these 
afflictions: the decree of God hath been fulfilled on us and on thee; 
and praise be to God that my daughter restored thee, though she 
destroyed herself. Now, however, depart, O my son, from my city. 
It is enough that hath happened on thy account; but as it was decreed 
against us and thee, depart in peace. 


So I departed, O my mistress, from his presence; but before I 
quitted the city, I entered a public bath, and shaved my beard. I 
traversed various regions, and passed through great cities, and bent 
my course to the Abode of Peace, Baghdad, in the hope of obtaining 
an interview with the Prince of the Faithful, that I might relate to 
him all that had befallen me. 

The third mendicant then advanced, and thus related his story :— 

The Story of the Third Royal Mendicant 

ILLUSTRIOUS lady, my story is not like those of my two com- 
panions, but more wonderful : the course of fate and destiny brought 
upon them events against which they could not guard; but as to 
myself, the shaving of my beard and the loss of my eye were occa- 
sioned by my provoking fate and misfortune; and the cause was 

1 was a King, and the son of a King; and when my father died, 
I succeeded to his throne, and governed my subjects with justice and 
beneficence. I took pleasure in sea- voyages; and my capital was on 
the shore of an extensive sea, interspersed with fortified and garri- 
soned islands, which I desired, for my amusement, to visit; I there- 
fore embarked with a fleet of ten ships, and took with me provisions 
sufficient for a whole month. I proceeded twenty days, after which 
there arose against us a contrary wind; but at daybreak it ceased, and 
the sea became calm, and we arrived at an island, where we landed, 
and cooked some provisions and ate; after which we remained there 
two days. We then continued our voyage; and when twenty days 
more had passed, we found ourselves in strange waters, unknown 
to the captain, and desired the watch to look out from the mast-head : 
so he went aloft, and when he had come down he said to the cap- 
tain, I saw, on my right hand, fish floating upon the surface of the 
water; and looking towards the midst of the sea, I perceived some- 
thing looming in the distance, sometimes black and sometimes 

When the captain heard this report of the watch, he threw his 
turban on the deck, and plucked his beard, and said to those who 
were with him. Receive warning of our destruction, which will befall 


all of us: not one will escape! So saying, he began to weep; and all 
of us in like manner bewailed our lot. I desired him to inform us 
of that which the watch had seen. O my lord, he replied, know that 
we have wandered from our course since the commencement of the 
contrary wind that was followed in the morning by a calm, in con- 
sequence of which we remained stationary two days; from that 
period we have deviated from our course for twenty-one days, and 
we have no wind to carry us back from the fate which awaits us 
after this day: to-morrow we shall arrive at a mountain of black 
stone, called loadstone: the current is now bearing us violently 
towards it, and the ships will fall in pieces, and every nail in them 
will fly to the mountain, and adhere to it; for God hath given to the 
loadstone a secret property by virtue of which everything of iron 
is attracted toward it. On that mountain is such a quantity of iron 
as no one knoweth but God, whose name be exalted; for from times 
of old great numbers of ships have been destroyed by the influence 
of that mountain. There is, upon the summit of the mountain, a 
cupola of brass supported by ten columns, and upon the top of this 
cupola is a horseman upon a horse of brass, having in his hand a 
brazen spear, and upon his breast suspended a tablet of lead, upon 
which are engraved mysterious names and talismans; and as long, 
O King, as this horseman remains upon the horse, so long will every 
ship that approaches be destroyed, with every person on board, and 
all the iron contained in it will cleave to the mountain: no one will 
be safe until the horseman shall have fallen from the horse. — The 
captain then wept bitterly; and we felt assured that our destruction 
was inevitable, and every one of us bade adieu to his friend. 

On the following morning we drew near to the mountain; the 
current carried us toward it with violence, and when the ships were 
almost close to it, they fell asunder, and all the nails, and everything 
else that was of iron, flew from them towards the loadstone. It was 
near the close of day when the ships fell in pieces. Some of us were 
drowned, and some escaped; but the greater number were drowned, 
and of those who saved their lives none knew what became of the 
others, so stupefied were they by the waves and the boisterous wind. 
As for myself, O my mistress, God, whose name be exalted, spared 
me on account of the trouble and torment and affliction that He had 



predestined to befall me. I placed myself upon a plank, and the wind 
and waves cast it upon the mountain; and when I had landed, I 
found a practicable way to the summit, resembling steps cut in the 
rock: so I exclaimed. In the name of God! — and offered up a prayer, 
and attempted the ascent, holding fast by the notches; and presently 
God stilled the wind and assisted me in my endeavours, so that I 
arrived in safety at the summit. Rejoicing greatly in my escape, I 
immediately entered the cupola, and performed the prayers of two 
rek'ahs^^ in gratitude to God for my preservation; after which I 
slept beneath the cupola, and heard a voice saying to me, O son of 
Khasib, when thou awakest from thy sleep, dig beneath thy feet, and 
thou wilt find a bow of brass, and three arrows of lead, whereon are 
engraved talismans : then take the bow and arrows and shoot at the 
horseman that is upon the top of the cupola, and relieve mankind 
from this great affliction; for when thou hast shot at the horseman 
he will fall into the sea; the bow will also fall, and do thou bury it 
in its place; and as soon as thou hast done this, the sea will swell and 
rise until it attains the summit of the mountain; and there will 
appear upon it a boat bearing a man, different from him whom thou 
shalt have cast down, and he will come to thee, having an oar in his 
hand: then do thou embark with him; but utter not the name of 
God; and he will convey thee in ten days to a safe sea, where, on 
thy arrival, thou wilt find one who will take thee to thy city. All 
this shall be done if thou utter not the name of God. 

Awaking from my sleep, I sprang up, and did as the voice had 
directed. I shot at the horseman, and he fell into the sea; and the 
bow having fallen from my hand, I buried it: the sea then became 
troubled, and rose to the summit of the mountain, and when I had 
stood waiting there a little while, I beheld a boat in the midst of the 
sea, approaching me. I praised God, whose name be exalted, and 
when the boat came to me I found in it a man of brass, with a tablet 
of lead upon his breast, engraven with names and talismans. With- 
out uttering a word, I embarked in the boat, and the man rowed me 

11 [Bowings]: the repetition of a set form of words, chiefly from the Kur'an, and 
ejaculations of "God is most great!" etc., accompanied by particular postures; part 
of the words being repeated in an erect posture; part, sitting; and part, in other 
postures: an inclination of the head and body, followed by two prostrations, dis- 
tinguishing each rek'ah. 


ten successive days, after which I beheld the islands of security, 
whereupon, in the excess of my joy, I exclaimed. In the name of 
God! There is no deity but God! God is most great! — and as soon 
as I had done this, he cast me out of the boat, and sank in the sea. 

Being able to swim, I swam until night, when my arms and 
shoulders were tired, and, in this perilous situation, I repeated the 
profession of the faith, and gave myself up as lost; but the sea rose 
with the violence of the wind, and a wave like a vast castle threw 
me upon the land, in order to the accomplishment of the purpose 
of God. I ascended the shore, and after I had wrung out my clothes, 
and spread them upon the ground to dry, I slept; and in the morning 
I put on my clothes again, and, looking about to see which way I 
should go, I found a tract covered with trees, to which I advanced; 
and when I had walked round it, I found that I was upon a small 
island in the midst of the sea; upon which I said within myself, 
Every time that I escape from one calamity I fall into another that 
is worse : — ^but while I was reflecting upon my unfortunate case, and 
wishing for death, I beheld a vessel bearing a number of men. I 
arose immediately, and climbed into a tree; and lo, the vessel came 
to the shore, and there landed from it ten black slaves bearing axes. 
They proceeded to the middle of the island, and, digging up the 
earth, uncovered and lifted up a trap-door, after which they returned 
to the vessel, and brought from it bread and flour and clarified butter 
and honey and sheep and everything that the wants of an inhabitant 
would require, continuing to pass backwards and forwards between 
the vessel and the trap-door, bringing loads from the former, and 
entering the latter, until they had removed all the stores from the 
ship. They then came out of the vessel with various clothes of the 
most beautiful description, and in the midst of them was an old 
sheykh, enfeebled and wasted by extreme age, leading by the hand 
a young man cast in the mould of graceful symmetry, and invested 
with such perfect beauty as deserved to be a subject for proverbs. 
He was like a fresh and slender twig, enchanting and captivating 
every heart by his elegant form. The party proceeded to the trap- 
door, and, entering it, became concealed from my eyes. 

They remained beneath about two hours, or more; after which, 
the sheykh and the slaves came out; but the youth came not with 


them; and they replaced the earth, and embarked and set sail. Soon 
after, I descended from the tree, and went to the excavation. I 
removed the earth, and, entering the aperture, saw a flight of wooden 
steps, which I descended; and, at the bottom, I beheld a handsome 
dwelling-place, furnished with a variety of silken carpets; and there 
was the youth, sitting upon a high mattress, with sweet-smelling 
flowers and fruits placed before him. On seeing me, his countenance 
became pale; but I saluted him, and said. Let thy mind be composed, 

my Master: thou hast nothing to fear, O delight of my eye; for 

1 am a man, and the son of a King, like thyself: fate hath impelled 
me to thee, that I may cheer thee in thy solitude. The youth, when 
he heard me thus address him, and was convinced that I was one 
of his own species, rejoiced exceedingly at my arrival, his colour 
returned, and, desiring me to approach him, he said, O my brother, 
my story is wonderful: my father is a jeweller: he had slaves who 
made voyages by his orders, for the purposes of commerce, and he 
had dealings with Kings; but he had never been blest with a son; 
and he dreamt that he was soon to have a son, but one whose life 
would be short; and he awoke sorrowful. Shortly after, in accordance 
with the decrees of God, my mother conceived me, and when her 
time was complete, she gave birth to me; and my father was greatly 
rejoiced: the astrologers, however, came to him, and said. Thy son 
will live fifteen years : his fate is intimated by the fact that there is, 
in the sea, a mountain called the Mountain of Loadstone, whereon 
is a horseman on a horse of brass, on the former of which is a tablet 
of lead suspended to his neck; and when the horseman shall be 
thrown down from his horse, thy son will be slain : the person who 
is to slay him is he who will throw down the horseman, and his 
name is King *Ajib, the son of King Khasib. My father was greatly 
afflicted at this announcement; and when he had reared me until I 
had nearly attained the age of fifteen years, the astrologers came 
again, and informed him that the horseman had fallen into the sea, 
and that it had been thrown down by King *Ajib, the son of King 
Khasib; on hearing which, he prepared for me this dwelling, and 
here left me to remain until the completion of the term, of which 
there now remain ten days, All this he did from fear lest King 'Ajib 
should kill me. 


When I heard this, I was filled with wonder, and said within 
myself, I am King *Ajib, the son of King Khasib, and it was I who 
threw down the horseman; but, by Allah, I will neither kill him nor 
do him any injury. Then said I to the youth. Far from thee be both 
destruction and harm, if it be the will of God, whose name be 
exalted: thou hast nothing to fear: I will remain with thee to serve 
thee, and will go forth with thee to thy father, and beg of him to 
send me back to my country, for the which he will obtain a reward. 
The youth rejoiced at my words, and I sat and conversed with him 
until night, when I spread his bed for him, and covered him, and 
slept near to his side. And in the morning I brought him water, 
and he washed his face, and said to me. May God requite thee for 
me with every blessing. If I escape from King 'Ajib, I will make 
my father reward thee with abundant favours. Never, I replied, 
may the day arrive that would bring thee misfortune. I then placed 
before him some refreshments, and after we had eaten together, we 
passed the day conversing with the utmost cheerfulness. 

I continued to serve him for nine days; and on the tenth day the 
youth rejoiced at finding himself in safety, and said to me, O my 
brother, I wish that thou wouldst in thy kindness warm for me some 
water, that I may wash myself and change my clothes; for I have 
smelt the odour of escape from death, in consequence of thy assist- 
ance. — ^With pleasure, I replied; — and I arose, and warmed the 
water; after which, he entered a place concealed from my view, and, 
having washed himself and changed his clothes, laid himself upon 
the mattress to rest after his bath. He then said to me. Cut up for 
me, O my brother, a water-melon, and mix its juice with some sugar: 
— so I arose, and taking a melon, brought it upon a plate, and said 
to him, Knowest thou, O my master, where is the knife? — See, here 
it is, he answered, upon the shelf over my head. I sprang up hastily, 
and took it from its sheath, and as I was drawing back, my foot 
slipped, as God had decreed, and I fell upon the youth, grasping in 
my hand the knife, which entered his body, and he died instantly. 
When I perceived that he was dead, and that I had killed him, I 
uttered a loud shriek, and beat my face and rent my clothes, saying, 
This is, indeed, a calamity! O what a calamity! O my Lord, I im- 
plore thy pardon, and declare to Thee my innocence of his death! 


Would that I had died before him! How long shall I devour trouble 
after trouble! 

With these reflections I ascended the steps, and, having replaced 
the trap-door, returned to my first station, and looked over the sea, 
where I saw the vessel that had come before, approaching, and cleav- 
ing the waves in its rapid course. Upon this I said within myself. 
Now will the men come forth from the vessel, and find the youth 
slain, and they will slay me also: — so I climbed into a tree, and 
concealed myself among its leaves, and sat there till the vessel 
arrived and cast anchor, when the slaves landed with the old sheykh, 
the father of the youth, and went to the place, and removed the 
earth. They were surprised at finding it moist, and when they had 
descended the steps, they discovered the youth lying on his back, 
exhibiting a face beaming with beauty, though dead, and clad in 
white and clean clothing, with the knife remaining in his body. 
They all wept at the sight, and the father fell down in a swoon, 
which lasted so long that the slaves thought he was dead. At length, 
however, he recovered, and came out with the slaves, who had 
wrapped the body of the youth in his clothes. They then took back 
all that was in the subterranean dwelling to the vessel, and departed. 

I remained, O my mistress, by day hiding myself in a tree, and 
at night walking about the open part of the island. Thus I continued 
for the space of two months; and I perceived that, on the western 
side of the island, the water of the sea every day retired, until, after 
three months, the land that had been beneath it became dry. Rejoic- 
ing at this, and feeling confident now in my escape, I traversed this 
dry tract, and arrived at an expanse of sand; whereupon I embold- 
ened myself, and crossed it. I then saw in the distance an appear- 
ance of fire, and, advancing towards it, found it to be a palace, over- 
laid with plates of copper, which, reflecting the rays of the sun, 
seemed from a distance to be fire : and when I drew near to it, reflect- 
ing upon this sight, there approached me an old sheykh, accom- 
panied by ten young men who were all blind of one eye, at which 
I was extremely surprised. As soon as they saw me, they saluted me, 
and asked me my story, which I related to them from first to last; 
and they were filled with wonder. They then conducted me into the 
palace, where I saw ten benches, upon each of which was a mattress 


covered with a blue stuff ;^^ and each of the young men seated him- 
self upon one of these benches, while the sheykh took his place upon 
a smaller one; after which they said to me, Sit down, O young man, 
and ask no question respecting our condition, nor respecting our 
being blind of one eye. Then the sheykh arose, and brought to each 
of them some food, and the same to me also; and next he brought 
to each of us some wine: and after we had eaten, we sat drinking 
together until the time for sleep, when the young men said to the 
sheykh. Bring to us our accustomed supply : — upon which the sheykh 
arose, and entered a closet, from which he brought upon his head, 
ten covered trays. Placing these upon the floor, he lighted ten 
candles, and stuck one of them upon each tray; and, having done 
this he removed the covers, and there appeared beneath them ashes 
mixed with pounded charcoal. The young men then tucked up their 
sleeves above the elbow, and blackened their faces, and slapped their 
cheeks, exclaiming. We were reposing at our ease, and our im- 
pertinent curiosity suffered us not to remain so! Thus they did until 
the morning, when the sheykh brought them some hot water, and 
they washed their faces, and put on other clothes. 

On witnessing this conduct, my reason was confounded, my heart 
was so troubled that I forgot my own misfortunes, and I asked them 
the cause of their strange behaviour; upon which they looked 
towards me, and said, O young man, ask not respecting that which 
doth not concern thee; but be silent; for in silence is security from 
error. — I remained with them a whole month, during which every 
night they did the same; and at length I said to them, I conjure you 
by Allah to remove this disquiet from my mind, and to inform me 
of the cause of your acting in this manner, and of your exclaiming, 
We were reposing at our ease, and our impertinent curiosity suffered 
us not to remain so! — if ye inform me not, I will leave you, and go 
my way; for the proverb saith. When the eye seeth not, the heart 
doth not grieve. — On hearing these words, they replied. We have 
not concealed this affair from thee but in our concern for thy wel- 
fare, lest thou shouldst become like us, and the same affliction that 
hath befallen us happen also to thee. I said, however. Ye must posi- 
tively inform me of this matter. — We give thee good advice, said 

^2 The colour of mourning. 


they, and do thou receive it, and ask us not respecting our case; 
otherwise thou wilt become bUnd o£ one eye, Hke us:— but I still 
persisted in my request; whereupon they said, O young man, if this 
befall thee, know that thou wilt be banished from our company. 
They then all arose, and, taking a ram, slaughtered and skinned it, 
and said to me. Take this knife with thee, and introduce thyself 
into the skin of the ram, and we will sew thee up in it, and go away; 
whereupon a bird called the rukh will come to thee, and, taking thee 
up by its talons, will fly away with thee, and set thee down upon a 
mountain: then cut open the skin with this knife, and get out, and 
the bird will fly away. Thou must arise, as soon as it hath gone, and 
journey for half a day, and thou wilt see before thee a lofty palace, 
encased with red gold, set with various precious stones, such as 
emeralds and rubies, &c.; and if thou enter it thy case will be as 
ours; for our entrance into that palace was the cause of our being 
blind of one eye; and if one of us would relate to thee all that hath 
befallen him, his story would be too long for thee to hear. 

They then sewed me up in the skin, and entered their palace; and 
soon after, there came an enormous white bird, which seized me, 
and flew away with me, and set me down upon the mountain; 
whereupon I cut open the skin, and got out; and the bird, as soon 
as it saw me, flew away. I rose up quickly, and proceeded towards 
the palace, which I found to be as they had described it to me; and 
when I had entered it, I beheld, at the upper end of a saloon, forty 
young damsels, beautiful as so many moons, and magnificently at- 
tired, who, as soon as they saw me, exclaimed. Welcome! Welcome! 
O our master and our lord! We have been for a month expecting 
thee. Praise be to God who hath blessed us with one who is worthy 
of us, and one of whom we are worthy! — After having thus greeted 
me, they seated me upon a mattress, and said. Thou art from this 
day our master and prince, and we are thy handmaids, and entirely 
under thy authority. They then brought to me some refreshments, 
and when I had eaten and drunk, they sat and conversed with me, 
full of joy and happiness. So lovely were these ladies, that even a 
devotee, if he saw them, would gladly consent to be their servant, 
and to comply with all that they would desire. At the approach of 
night they all assembled around me, and placed before me a table 


o£ fresh and dried fruits, with other deHcacies that the tongue cannot 
describe, and wine; and one began to sing, while another played 
upon the lute. The wine-cups circulated among us, and joy over- 
came me to such a degree as to obliterate from my mind every 
earthly care, and make me exclaim. This is indeed a delightful life! 
I passed a night of such enjoyment as I had never before experienced; 
and on the morrow I entered the bath; and, after I had washed my- 
self, they brought me a suit of the richest clothing, and we again 
sat down to a repast. 

In this manner I lived with them a whole year; but on the first 
day of the new year, they seated themselves around me, and began 
to weep, and bade me farewell, clinging to my skirts. — What calam- 
ity hath befallen you? said I. Ye have broken my heart. — They 
answered. Would that we had never known thee; for we have asso- 
ciated with many men, but have seen none like thee. May God, 
therefore, not deprive us of thy company. — And they wept afresh. 
I said to them, I wish that you would acquaint me with the cause of 
this weeping. — Thou, they replied, art the cause; yet now, if thou 
wilt attend to what we tell thee, we shall never be parted; but if 
thou act contrary to it, we are separated from this time; and our 
hearts whisper to us that thou wilt not regard our warning. — Inform 
me, said I, and I will attend to your directions: — and they replied, 
If then thou wouldst inquire respecting our history, know that we 
are the daughters of Kings : for many years it hath been our custom 
to assemble here, and every year we absent ourselves during a period 
of forty days; then returning, we indulge ourselves for a year in 
feasting and drinking. This is our usual practice; and now we fear 
that thou wilt disregard our directions when we are absent from 
thee. We deliver to thee the keys of the palace, which are a hundred 
in number, belonging to a hundred closets. Open each of these, and 
amuse thyself, and eat and drink, and refresh thyself, excepting the 
closet that hath a door of red gold; for if thou open this, the con- 
sequence will be a separation between us and thee. We conjure thee, 
therefore, to observe our direction, and to be patient during this 
period. — ^Upon hearing this, I swore to them that I would never open 
the closet to which they alluded; and they departed, urging me to 
be faithful to my promise. 


I remained alone in tlie palace, and at the approach o£ evening I 
opened the first closet, and, entering it, found a mansion like para- 
dise, with a garden containing green trees loaded with ripe fruits, 
abounding with singing birds, and watered by copious streams. My 
heart was soothed by the sight, and I wandered among the trees, 
scenting the fragrance of the flowers, and listening to the warbUng 
of the birds as they sang the praises of the One, the Almighty. After 
admiring the mingled colours of the apple resembling the hue upon 
the cheek of a beloved mistress and the sallow countenance of the 
perplexed and timid lover, the sweet-smelling quince diffusing an 
odour like musk and ambergris, and the plum shining as the ruby, 
I retired from this place, and, having locked the door, opened that 
of the next closet, within which I beheld a spacious tract planted 
with numerous palm-trees, and watered by a river flowing among 
rose-trees, and jasmine, and marjoram, and eglantine, and narcissus, 
and gilliflower, the odours of which diffused in every direction by 
the wind, inspired me with the utmost delight. I locked again the 
door of the second closet, and opened that of the third. Within this 
I found a large saloon, paved with marbles of various colours, and 
with costly minerals and precious gems, and containing cages con- 
structed of sandal and aloes-wood with singing birds within them, 
and others upon the branches of trees which were planted there. My 
heart was charmed, my trouble was dissipated, and I slept there 
until the morning. I then opened the door of the fourth closet, and 
within this door I found a great building in which were forty closets 
with open doors; and, entering these, I beheld pearls, and rubies, 
and chrysolites, and emeralds, and other precious jewels such as the 
tongue cannot describe. I was astonished at the sight and said. Such 
things as these, I imagine, are not found in the treasury of any King. 
I am now the King of my age, and all these treasures, through the 
goodness of God, are mine, together with forty damsels under my 
authority who have no man to share them with me. 

Thus I continued to amuse myself, passing from one place to 
another, until thirty-nine days had elapsed, and I had opened the 
doors of all the closets excepting that which they had forbidden me 
to open. My heart was then disturbed by curiosity respecting this 
hundredth closet, and the Devil, in order to plunge me into misery, 


induced me to open it. I had not patience to abstain, though there 
remained of the appointed period only one day : So I approached the 
closet, and opened the door; and when I had entered, I perceived a 
fragrant odour, such as I had never before smelt, v^hich intoxicated 
me so that I fell dov^n insensible, and remained some time in this 
state: but at length recovering, I fortified my heart, and proceeded. 
I found the floor overspread with saffron, and the place illuminated 
by golden lamps and by candles, which diffused the odours of musk 
and ambergris; and two large perfuming-vessels filled with aloes- 
wood and ambergris, and a perfume compounded with honey, spread 
fragrance through the whole place. I saw also a black horse, of the 
hue of the darkest night, before which was a manger of white 
crystal filled with cleansed sesame, and another, similar to it, con- 
taining rose-water infused with musk: he was saddled and bridled, 
and his saddle was of red gold. Wondering at the sight of him, I 
said within myself, This must be an animal of extraordinary quali- 
ties; — and, seduced by the Devil, I led him out, and mounted him; 
but he moved not from his place: I kicked him with my heel; but 
still he moved not: so I took a mikra'ah and struck him with it; and 
as soon as he felt the blow he uttered a sound like thunder, and, 
expanding a pair of wings, soared with me to an immense height 
through the air, and then alighted upon the roof of another palace, 
where he threw me from his back, and, by a violent blow with his 
tail upon my face, as I sat on the roof, struck out my eye, and left me. 

In this state I descended from the roof, and below I found the 
one-eyed young men before mentioned, who, as soon as they beheld 
me, exclaimed, No welcome to thee! — Receive me, said I, into your 
company: — ^but they replied, By Allah, thou shalt not remain with 
us: — so I departed from them, with mournful heart and weeping 
eye, and, God having decreed me a safe journey hither, I arrived at 
Baghdad, after I had shaved my beard, and become a mendicant. 

The mistress of the house then looked towards the Khalifeh and 
Ja'far and Mesrur, and said to them. Acquaint me with your his- 
tories: — upon which Ja'far advanced towards her, and related to her 
the same story that he had told to the portress before they entered; 
and when she had heard it, she liberated them all. They accordingly 
departed, and when they had gone out into the street, the Khalifeh 


inquired of the mendicants whither they were going. They answered 
that they knew not whither to go: whereupon he desired them to 
accompany his party; and then said to Ja'far, Take them home with 
thee, and bring them before me to-morrow, and we will see the 
result. Ja'far, therefore, did as he was commanded, and the KhaHfeh 
returned to his palace; but he was unable to sleep during the remain- 
der of the night. 

On the following morning he sat upon his throne, and when his 
courtiers had presented themselves before him, and departed, except- 
ing Ja'far, he said to him. Bring before me the three ladies and the 
two bitches and the mendicants. So Ja'far arose, and brought them, 
and, placing the ladies behind the curtains, said to them, We have 
forgiven you on account of your previous kindness to us, and because 
ye knew us not; and now I acquaint you that ye are in the presence 
of the fifth of the sons of E1-' Abbas, Harun Er-Rashid; therefore 
relate to him nothing but the truth. And when the ladies heard the 
words which Ja'far addressed to them on the part of the Khalifeh, 
the eldest of them advanced, and thus related her story: — 

The Story of the First of the Three Ladies of Baghdad 

O Prince of the Faithful, my story is wonderful; for these two 
bitches are my sisters, born to my father, but of another mother; and 
I am the youngest of the three. After the death of our father, who 
left us five thousand pieces of gold, these my two sisters married, 
and when they had resided some time with their husbands, each of 
the latter prepared a stock of merchandise, and received from his 
wife a thousand pieces of gold, and they all set forth on a journey 
together, leaving me here; but after they had been absent four years, 
my sisters' husbands lost all their property, and abandoned them in 
a strange land, and they returned to me in the garb of beggars. 
When I first saw them in this state, I knew them not; and, as soon 
as I recognised them, I exclaimed, How is it that ye are in this con- 
dition? — O our sister, they answered, thy inquiry now is of no use: 
the Pen hath written what God hath decreed. — I sent them, there- 
fore, to the bath, and, having clad them in new apparel, said to 
them, O my sisters, ye are my elders, and I am young; so ye shall be 


to me in the places o£ my father and mother. The inheritance which 
I shared with you God hath blessed; partake then of its increase, for 
my affairs are prosperous; and I and ye shall fare alike. — I treated 
them with the utmost kindness, and during a whole year they 
remained with me, and enriched themselves by the money that I 
had given them; but after this period they said to me, It will be 
more agreeable to us to marry again, for we can no longer abstain 
from doing so. — O my sisters, I replied, ye have seen no happiness in 
marriage: a good husband in this age is rarely found, and ye have 
already had experience of the marriage-state. They, however, heeded 
not my words; but married against my consent: yet I gave them 
dowries from my own property, and continued to them my protec- 
tion. They went to their husbands, and the latter, after they had 
resided with them a short time, defrauded them of all that they 
possessed, and, setting forth on a journey, left them destitute: so 
again they returned to me, and, in a state of nudity, implored my 
forgiveness, saying. Be not angry with us; for though thou art 
younger than we, thou hast more mature sense; and we promise 
thee that we will never again mention the subject of marriage. I 
replied. Ye are welcome, O my sisters; for I have no one dearer to 
me than yourselves: — and I received them, and treated them with 
every kindness, and we remained happily together for the space of 
a year. 

After this I resolved to fit out a vessel for a mercantile voyage: 
accordingly, I stocked a large ship with various goods and necessary 
provisions, and said to my sisters, Will ye rather stay at home during 
my voyage, or will ye go with me? — to which they answered. We 
will accompany thee during the voyage, for we cannot endure to be 
separated from thee. I therefore took them with me, and we set sail; 
but first I divided my property into two equal portions; one of which 
I took with me, and the other I concealed, saying within myself, 
Perhaps some evil accident may happen to the ship, and our lives may 
be prolonged; in which case, when we return we shall find that 
which will be of service to us. — We continued our voyage by day 
and night, till at length the vessel pursued a wrong course, and the 
captain knew not whither to steer. The ship had entered a different 
sea from that which we wished to cross, and for some time we knew 


it not; but for ten days we had a pleasant wind, and after this, a city 
loomed before us in the distance. We asked the captain what was 
the name of this city; and he answered, I know it not; I have never 
seen it till this day, nor have I ever before in the course of my life 
navigated this sea: but as we have come hither in safety, ye have 
nothing to do but to enter this city and land your goods, and, if ye 
find opportunity, sell or exchange there: if not, we will rest there 
two days, and take in fresh provisions. So we entered the port of 
the city, and the captain landed, and after a while returned to us, 
saying, Arise, and go up into the city, and wonder at that which 
God hath done unto his creatures, and pray to be preserved from 
his anger. And when we had entered the city, we found all its 
inhabitants converted into black stones. We were amazed at the 
sight, and as we walked through the market-streets, finding the 
merchandise and the gold and silver remaining in their original 
state, we rejoiced, and said, This must have been occasioned by some 
wonderful circumstance. We then separated in the streets, each of 
us attracted from his companions by the wealth and stuffs in the 

As for myself, I ascended to the citadel, which I found to be a 
building of admirable construction; and, entering the King's palace, 
I found all the vessels of gold and silver remaining in their places, 
and the King himself seated in the midst of his Chamberlains and 
Viceroys and Wezirs, and clad in apparel of astonishing richness. 
Drawing nearer to him, I perceived that he was sitting upon a 
throne adorned with pearls and jewels, every one of the pearls 
shining like a star: his dress was embroidered with gold, and around 
him stood fifty memluks, attired in silks of various descriptions, and 
having in their hands drawn swords. Stupefied at this spectacle, I 
proceeded, and entered the saloon of the Harim, upon the walls of 
which were hung silken curtains; and here I beheld the Queen, 
attired in a dress embroidered with fresh pearls, and having upon 
her head a diadem adorned with various jewels, and necklaces of 
different kinds on her neck. All her clothing and ornaments re- 
mained as they were at first, though she herself was converted into 
black stone. Here also I found an open door, and, entering it, I 
saw a flight of seven steps, by which I ascended to an apartment 


paved with marble, furnished with gold-embroidered carpets, and 
containing a couch of alabaster, ornamented with pearls and jewels; 
but my eyes were first attracted by a gleam of light, and when I ap- 
proached the spot whence it proceeded, I found a brilliant jewel, of 
the size of an ostrich's egg, placed upon a small stool, diffusing a 
hght like that of a candle. The coverings of the couch above men- 
tioned were of various kinds of silk, the richness of which would 
surprise every beholder; and I looked at them with wonder. In this 
apartment I likewise observed some lighted candles, and reflected 
that there must then have been some person there to light them. I 
passed thence to another part of the palace, and continued to explore 
the different apartments, forgetting myself in the amazement of 
my mind at all these strange circumstances, and immersed in 
thoughts respecting what I beheld, until the commencement of night, 
when I would have departed; but could not find the door; so I re- 
turned to the place in which were the lighted candles, and there 
I laid myself upon the couch, and, covering myself with a quilt, 
repeated some words of the Kur'an and endeavoured to compose 
myself to sleep; but I could not. I continued restless: and at midnight 
I heard a recitation of the Kur'an, performed by a melodious and 
soft voice; upon which I arose, and, looking about, saw a closet with 
an open door, and I entered it, and found that it was an oratory: 
lighted lamps were suspended in it, and upon a prayer carpet 
spread on the floor sat a young man of handsome aspect. Wonder- 
ing that he had escaped the fate of the other inhabitants of the city, 
I saluted him; and he raised his eyes, and returned my salutation: 
and I then said to him, I conjure thee by the truth of that which 
thou art reading in the Book of God, that thou answer the question 
which I am about to ask thee: — whereupon he smiled, and replied. 
Do thou first acquaint me with the cause of thine entrance into this 
place, and then I will answer thy question : so I told him my story, 
and inquired of him the history of this city. Wait a little, said he; — 
and he closed the Kur'an, and, having put it in a bag of satin, seated 
me by his side. As I now beheld him, his countenance appeared like 
the full moon, and his whole person exhibited such perfect elegance 
and loveliness, that a single glance at him drew from me a thousand 
sighs, and kindled a fire in my heart. I repeated my request that he 


would give me an account o£ the city; and, replying, I hear and 
obey, he thus addressed me: — 

Know that this city belonged to my fatuer and his family and 
subjects; and he is the King whom thou hast seen converted into 
stone; and the Queen whom thou hast seen is my mother. They 
were all Magians, worshipping fire in the place of the Almighty 
King; and they swore by the fire and the light, and the shade and 
the heat, and the revolving orb. My father had no son, till, in his 
declining years, he was blest with me, whom he reared until I 
attained to manhood. But, happily for me, there was, in our family, 
an old woman, far advanced in age, who was a Muslimeh, believing 
in God and his Apostle in her heart, though she conformed with 
my family in outward observances; and my father confided in her, 
on account of the faithfulness and modesty that he had observed in 
her character, and shewed her great favour, firmly believing that she 
held the same faith as himself; therefore, when I had passed my 
infancy, he committed me to her care, saying. Take him, and rear 
him, and instruct him in the ordinances of our faith, and educate 
him and serve him in the best manner. The old woman accordingly 
received me, but took care to instruct me in the faith of El-Islam, 
teaching me the laws of purification, and the divine ordinances of 
ablution, together with the forms of prayer; after which she made 
me commit to memory the whole of the Kur'an. She then charged 
me to keep my faith a secret from my father, lest he should kill me; 
and I did so; and a few days after, the old woman died. The in- 
habitants of the city had now increased in their impiety and 
arrogance, and in their dereliction of the truth; and while they were 
in this state, they heard a crier proclaim with a voice like thunder, 
so as to be audible to both the near and the distant, O inhabitants 
of this city, abstain from the worship of fire, and worship the Al- 
mighty King! — The people were struck with consternation, and, 
flocking to my father, the King of the city, said to him. What is this 
alarming voice which hath astounded us by its terrible sound? — 
but he answered them, Let not the voice terrify you, nor let it turn 
you from your faith: — and their hearts inclined to his words; so they 
persevered in the worship of fire, and remained obstinate in their 
impiety during another year, until the return of the period at which 


they had heard the voice the first time. It was then heard a second 
time; and again, in the next year, they heard it a third time; but 
still they persisted in their evil ways, until, drawing down upon 
themselves the abhorrence and indignation of Heaven, one morn- 
ing, shortly after daybreak, they were converted into black stones, 
together with their beasts and all their cattle. Not one of the in- 
habitants of the city escaped, excepting me; and from the day on 
which this catastrophe happened, I have continued occupied as thou 
seest, in prayer, and fasting, and reading the Kur'an : but I have be- 
come weary of this solitary state, having no one to cheer me with 
his company. 

On hearing these words, I said to him. Wilt thou go with me to 
the city of Baghdad, and visit its learned men and lawyers, and 
increase thy knowledge? If so, I will be thy handmaid, though I 
am the mistress of my family, and have authority over a household 
of men. I have here a ship laden with merchandise, and destiny 
hath driven us to this city, in order that we might become acquainted 
with these events: our meeting was predestined. — In this manner I 
continued to persuade him until he gave his consent. I slept that 
night at his feet, unconscious of my state through excessive joy; and 
in the morning we rose, and, entering the treasuries, took away a 
quantity of the lighter and most valuable of the articles that they 
contained, and descended from the citadel into the city, where we 
met the slaves and the captain, who were searching for me. They 
were rejoiced at seeing me, and, to their questions respecting my 
absence, I replied by informing them of all that I had seen, and 
related to them the history of the young man, and the cause of the 
transmutation of the people of the city, and of all that had befallen 
them, which filled them with wonder. But when my two sisters 
saw me with the young man, they envied me on his account, and 
malevolently plotted against me. 

We embarked again, and I experienced the utmost happiness, 
chiefly owing to the company of the young man; and after we had 
waited a while till the wind was favourable, we spread our sails, and 
departed. My sisters sat with me and the young man; and, in their 
conversation with me, said, O our sister, what dost thou purpose to 
do with this handsome youth.? I answered, I desire to take him as 


my husband: — and, turning to him, and approaching him, I said, 
O, my master, I wish to make a proposal to thee, and do not thou 
oppose it. He repHed, I hear and obey : — and I then looked towards 
my sisters, and said to them. This young man is all that I desire, 
and all the wealth that is here is yours. — Excellent, they replied, is 
thy determination: — yet still they designed evil against me. — We 
continued our voyage with a favourable wind, and, quitting the sea 
of peril, entered the sea of security, across which we proceeded for 
some days, until we drew near the city of El-Basrah, the buildings 
of which loomed before us at the approach of evening; but as soon 
as we had fallen asleep, my sisters took us up in our bed, both myself 
and the young man, and threw us into the sea. The youth, being 
unable to swim, was drowned; God recorded him among the com- 
pany of the martyrs; while I was registered among those whose life 
was yet to be preserved: and, accordingly, as soon as I awoke and 
found myself in the sea, the providence of God supplied me with a 
piece of timber, upon which I placed myself, and the waves cast me 
upon the shore of an island. 

During the remainder of the night I walked along this island, 
and in the morning I saw a neck of land, bearing the marks of a 
man's feet, and uniting with the main land. The sun having now 
risen, I dried my clothes in its rays, and proceeded along the path 
that I had discovered until I drew near to the shore upon which 
stands the city, when I beheld a snake approaching me, and followed 
by a serpent which was endeavouring to destroy it: the tongue of 
the snake was hanging from its mouth in consequence of excessive 
fatigue, and it excited my compassion; so I took up a stone, and 
threw it at the head of the serpent, which instantly died: the snake 
then extended a pair of wings, and soared aloft into the sky, leaving 
me in wonder at the sight. At the time of this occurrence I had 
become so fatigued, that I now laid myself down and slept; but I 
awoke after a little while, and found a damsel seated at my feet, 
and gently rubbing them with her hands; upon which I imme- 
diately sat up, feeling ashamed that she should perform this service 
for me, and said to her. Who art thou, and what dost thou want? — 
How soon hast thou forgotten me! she exclaimed: I am she to whom 
thou hast just done a kindness, by killing my enemy; I am the 


snake whom thou savedst from the serpent; for I am a Jinniyeh, 
and the serpent was a Jinni at enmity with me; and none but thou 
delivered me from him : therefore, as soon as thou didst this, I flew 
to the ship from which thy sisters cast thee, and transported all 
that it contained to thy house; I then sunk it; but as to thy sisters, 
I transformed them by enchantment into two black bitches; for I 
knew all that they had done to thee: the young man, however, is 
drowned. — Having thus said, she took me up, and placed me with 
the two black bitches on the roof of my house : and I found all the 
treasures that the ship had contained collected in the midst of my 
house: nothing was lost. She then said to me, I swear by that which 
was engraved upon the seal of Suleyman, that, if thou do not inflict 
three hundred lashes upon each of these bitches every day, I will 
come and transform thee in the like manner: — so I replied, I hear 
and obey: — and have continued ever since to inflict upon them these 
stripes, though pitying them while I do so. 

The Khalifeh heard this story with astonishment, and then said 
to the second lady. And what occasioned the stripes of which thou 
bearest the marks ? She answered as follows : — 

The Story of the Second of the Three Ladies of Baghdad 

Prince of the Faithful, my father, at his death, left considerable 
property; and soon after that event I married to one of the wealthiest 
men of the age, who, when I had lived with him a year, died, and 
I inherited from him eighty thousand pieces of gold, the portion that 
fell to me according to the law; with part of which I made for myself 
ten suits of clothing, each of the value of a thousand pieces of gold. 
And as I was sitting one day, there entered my apartment an old 
woman, disgustingly ugly, who saluted me, and said, I, have an 
orphan daughter whose marriage I am to celebrate this night, and I 
would have thee obtain a reward and recompense in heaven by thy 
being present at her nuptial festivity; for she is broken-hearted, 
having none to befriend her but God, whose name be exalted. She 
then wept, and kissed my feet; and, being moved with pity and com- 
passion, I assented, upon which she desired me to prepare myself, 
telling me that she would come at the hour of nightfall and take 
me; and so saying, she kissed my hand, and departed. 


I arose immediately, and attired myself, and when I had completed 
my preparations, the old woman returned, saying, O my mistress, 
the ladies of the city have arrived, and I have informed them of thy 
coming, and they are waiting with joy to receive thee: — so I put on 
my outer garments, and, taking my female slaves with me, proceeded 
until we arrived at a street in which a soft wind was delightfully 
playing, where we saw a gateway over-arched with a marble vault, 
admirably constructed, forming the entrance to a palace which rose 
from the earth to the clouds. On our arrival there, the old woman 
knocked at the door, and, when it was opened, we entered a carpeted 
passage, illuminated by lamps and candles, and decorated with 
jewels and precious metals. Through this passage we passed into a 
saloon of unequalled magnificence, furnished with mattresses cov- 
ered with silk, lighted by hanging lamps and by candles, and having, 
at its upper end, a couch of alabaster decorated with pearls and 
jewels, and canopied by curtains of satin, from which there came 
forth a lady beautiful as the moon, who exclaimed to me. Most wel- 
come art thou, O my sister : thou delightest me by thy company, and 
refreshest my heart. She then sat down again, and said to me, O my 
sister, I have a brother who hath seen thee at a festivity: he is a 
young man, more handsome than myself, and, his heart being vio- 
lently inflamed with love of thee, he hath bribed this old woman to 
go to thee, and to employ this artifice in order to obtain for me an 
interview with thee. He desireth to marry thee according to the 
ordinance of God and his Apostle, and in that which is lawful there 
is no disgrace. — ^When I heard these words, and saw myself thus 
confined in the house so that I could not escape, I replied, I hear, 
and obey: — and the lady, rejoicing at my consent, clapped her hands, 
and opened .a door, upon which there came out from it a young 
man so surpassingly handsome, that my heart immediately inclined 
to him. No sooner had he sat down than the Kadi and four wit- 
nesses entered, and saluted us, and proceeded to perform the cere- 
mony of the marriage-contract between me and the young man; 
which having done, they departed; and when they had retired, the 
young man looked towards me, and said, May our night be blessed. 
He then informed me that he desired to impose a covenant upon 
me, and, bringing a copy of the Kur'an, said, Swear that thou wilt 


not indulge a preference, nor at all incline, to any man but me : — and 
when I had sworn to this effect he rejoiced exceedingly, and 
embraced me; and the love of him took entire possession of my 

We lived together in the utmost happiness for the space of a 
month, after which I begged that he would allow me to go to the 
bazar, in order to purchase some stuffs for dress, and, having ob- 
tained his permission, went thither in company with the old woman, 
and seated myself at the shop of a young merchant with whom she 
was acquainted, and whose father, as she informed me, had died, 
and left him great wealth. She desired him to shew me his most 
costly stuffs; and while he was occupied in doing so, she began to 
utter various flattering expressions in praise of him; but I said to 
her. We have no concern with the praises that thou bestowest upon 
him; we desire only to make our purchase, and to return home. 
Meanwhile he produced to us what we wanted, and we handed him 
the money: he refused, however, to take it, saying. It is an offer of 
hospitality to you for your visit this day: — whereupon I said to the 
old woman. If he will not take the money, return to him his stuff. 
But he would not receive it again, and exclaimed. By Allah, I will 
take nothing from you : all this is a present from me for a single kiss, 
which I shall value more than the entire contents of my shop. — 
What will a kiss profit thee ? asked the old woman. Then, turning 
to me, she said, O my daughter, thou hast heard what the youth 
hath said: no harm will befall thee if he give thee a kiss, and thou 
shalt take what thou wantest. — Dost thou not know, said I, that I 
have taken an oath ? She answered. Let him kiss thee then without 
thy speaking, and so it will be of no consequence to thee, and thou 
shalt take back thy money. Thus she continued to palliate the 
matter until I put my head (as it were) into the bag, and consented : 
so I covered my eyes, and held the edge of my veil in such a manner 
as to prevent the passengers from seeing me, whereupon he put his 
mouth to my cheek beneath the veil, but instead of merely kissing 
me, he lacerated my cheek by a violent bite. I fell into a swoon from 
the pain, and the old woman laid me on her lap till I recovered, 
when I found the shop closed, and the old woman uttering expres- 
sions of grief, and saying, What God hath averted would have been 


a greater calamity: let us return home, and do thou feign to be ill, 
and I will come to thee and apply a remedy that shall cure the 
wound, and thou wilt quickly be restored. 

After remaining there some time longer, I rose, and, in a state 
of great uneasiness and fear, returned to the house, and professed 
myself ill; upon which my husband came in to me, and said. What 
hath befallen thee, O my mistress, during this excursion? I an- 
swered, I am not well. — And what is this wound, said he, that is 
upon thy cheek, and in the soft part ? I answered. When I asked thy 
permission, and went out to-day to purchase some stuff for dress, a 
camel loaded with firewood drove against me in the crowd, and 
tore my veil, and wounded my cheek as thou seest, for the streets 
of this city are narrow. — To-morrow, then, he exclaimed, I will go 
to the governor, and make a complaint to him, and he shall hang 
every seller of firewood in the city. — By Allah, said I, burden not 
thyself by an injury to any one; for the truth is, that I was riding 
upon an ass, which took fright with me, and I fell upon the ground, 
and a stick lacerated my cheek. — If it be so, then, he replied, I will 
go to-morrow to Ja'far El-Barmeki, and relate the matter to him, and 
he shall kill every ass-driver in this city. — Wilt thou, said I, kill all 
those men on my account when this which befell me was decreed by 
God? — Undoubtedly, he answered; and, so saying, he seized me 
violently, and then sprang up, and uttered a loud cry, upon which 
the door opened, and there came forth from it seven black slaves, 
who dragged me from my bed, and threw me down in the middle 
of the apartment; whereupon he ordered one of them to hold me by 
my shoulders, and to sit upon my head; and another to sit upon my 
knees and to hold my feet. A third then came, with a sword in his 
hand, and said, O my lord, shall I strike her with the sword, and 
cleave her in twain, that each of these may take a half and throw it 
into the Tigris for the fish to devour ? For such is the punishment 
of her who is unfaithful to her oath and to the laws of love. — My 
husband answered. Strike her O Sa'ad: — And the slave, with the 
drawn sword in his hand, said. Repeat the profession of the faith, 
and reflect what thou wouldst have to be done, that thou mayest 
give thy testamentary directions, for this is the end of thy life. — 


Good slave, I replied, release me for a while that I may do so : — and 
I raised my head, and weeping as I spoke, addressed my husband 
with these verses : — 

You render me lovelorn, and remain at ease. You make my wounded 

eyelids to be resdess, and you sleep. 
Your abode is between my heart and my eyes; and my heart will not 

relinquish you, nor my tears conceal my passion. 
You made a covenant with me that you would remain faithful; but when 

you had gained possession of my heart you deceived me. 
Will you not pity my love for you and my moaning? Have you yourself 

been secure from misfortunes? 
I conjure you, by Allah, if I die, that you write upon my tombstone. 

This was a slave of love. 
That, perchance, some mourner who hath felt the same flame may pass 

by the lover's grave, and pity her. 

But on hearing these verses, and witnessing my weeping, he became 
more incensed, and replied in the words of this couplet : — 

I reject not the beloved of my heart from weariness: her own guilty 

conduct is the cause of her punishment. 
She desired that another should share with me her love; but the faith of 

my heart inclineth not to partnership. 

I continued to weep, and to endeavour to excite his compassion, 
saying within myself, I will humble me before him, and address 
him with soft words, that he may at least refrain from killing me, 
though he take all that I possess; — but he cried out to the slave. 
Cleave her in twain; for she is no longer of any value to us. — So the 
slave approached me, and I now felt assured of my death, and com- 
mitted myself to God; but suddenly the old woman came and threw 
herself at my husband's feet, and, kissing them, exclaimed, O my 
son, by the care with which I nursed thee, I conjure thee to pardon 
this damsel, for she hath committed no offence that deserveth such a 
punishment: thou art young, and I fear the effect of the imprecations 
that she may utter against thee: — and after she had thus addressed 
him, she wept, and continued to importune him, until, at length, 
he said, I pardon her, but must cause her to bear upon her person 


such marks o£ her offence as shall last for the remainder of her life. 
So saying he commanded the slaves to strip off my vest, and, taking 
a stick cut from a quince-tree, he beat me upon my back and my 
sides until I became insensible from the violence of the blow^s, and 
despaired of my life. He then ordered the slaves to take me away 
as soon as it was night, accompanied by the old woman, and throw 
me into my house in which I formerly resided. They accordingly 
executed their lord's commands, and when they had deposited me 
in my house, I applied myself to the healing of my wounds; but, 
after I had cured myself, my sides still bore the appearance of having 
been beaten with mikra'ahs. I continued to apply remedies for four 
months before I was restored, and then repaired to view the house 
in which this event had happened; but I found it reduced to ruin, 
and the whole street pulled down; the site of the house I found 
occupied by mounds of rubbish, and I knew not the cause. 

Under these circumstances, I went to reside with this my sister, 
who is of the same father as myself, and I found with her these two 
bitches. Having saluted her, I informed her of all that had befallen 
me; to which she replied. Who is secure from the afflictions of for- 
tune? Praise be to God who terminated the affair with safety to 
thy life! — She then related to me her own story, and that of her two 
sisters, and I remained with her, and neither of us ever mentioned 
the subject of marriage. Afterwards we were joined by this our 
other sister, the cateress, who every day goes out to purchase for us 
whatever we happen to want. 

The Khalifeh was astonished at this story, and ordered it to be 
recorded in a book, as an authentic history, and deposited the book 
in his library. And he said to the first lady, Knowest thou where 
the Jinniyeh who enchanted thy sister is to be found ? She answered, 
O Prince of the Faithful, she gave me a lock of her hair, and said. 
When thou desirest my presence, burn a few of these hairs, and I 
will be with thee quickly, though I should be beyond Mount Kaf. — 
Bring then the hair, said the Khalifeh. The lady, therefore, pro- 
duced it; and the Khalifeh, taking it, burned a portion of it, and 
when the odour had diffused itself, the palace shook, and they heard 
a sound of thunder, and lo, the Jinniyeh appeared before them. She 


was a Muslimeh, and therefore greeted the KhaUfeh by saying, Peace 
be on thee, O KhaHfeh of God! — to which he repHed, On you be 
peace, and the mercy of God, and his blessings !^^ She then said, 
Know that this lady hath conferred on me a benefit for which I am 
unable to requite her; for she rescued me from death, by killing 
my enemy; and I, having seen what her sisters had done to her, 
determined to take vengeance upon them; therefore I transformed 
them by enchantment into two bitches; and, indeed, I had wished 
rather to kill them, fearing lest they should trouble her; but now, if 
thou desire their restoration, O Prince of the Faithful, I will restore 
them, as a favour to thee and to her; for I am one of the true believ- 
ers. — Do so, said the Khalifeh; and then we will enter upon the 
consideration of the affair of the lady who hath been beaten, and 
examine her case, and if her veracity be established, I will take 
vengeance for her upon him who hath oppressed her. The Jinniyeh 
replied, O Prince of the Faithful, I will guide thee to the discovery 
of him who acted thus to this lady, and oppressed her, and took her 
property: he is thy nearest relation. She then took a cup of water, 
and, having pronounced a spell over it, sprinkled the faces of the two 
bitches, saying, Be restored to your original human forms! — where- 
upon they became again two young ladies. — Extolled be the per- 
fection of their Creator! Having done this, the Jinniyeh said, O 
Prince of the Faithful, he who beat the lady is thy son El-Emin, who 
had heard of her beauty and loveliness : — and she proceeded to relate 
what had happened. The KhaHfeh was astonished, and exclaimed, 
Praise be to God for the restoration of these two bitches which hath 
been effected through my means! — and immediately he summoned 
before him his son El-Emin, and inquired of him the history of the 
lady; and he related to him the truth. He then sent for Kadis and 
witnesses, and the first lady and her two sisters who had been trans- 
formed into bitches he married to the three mendicants who had 
related that they were the sons of Kings; and these he made cham- 
berlains of his court, appointing them all that they required, and 
allotting them apartments in the palace of Baghdad. The lady who 
had been beaten he restored to his son El-Emin, giving her a large 
property, and ordering that the house should be rebuilt in a more 

^3 This salutation and its reply are to be given only to and by Muslims. 


handsome style. Lastly, the lady cateress he took as his own wife; 
he admitted her at once to his own apartment, and, on the following 
day, he appointed her a separate lodging for herself, with female 
slaves to wait upon her: he also allotted to her a regular income; 
and afterwards built for her a palace. 

[Nights 24-^2] 
The Story of the Humpback 

THERE was, in ancient times, in the city of El-Basrah, a 
tailor who enjoyed an ample income, and was fond of sport 
and merriment. He was in the habit of going out occasion- 
ally with his wife, that they might amuse themselves with strange 
and diverting scenes; and one day they went forth in the afternoon, 
and, returning home in the evening, met a humpbacked man, whose 
aspect was such as to excite laughter in the angry, and to dispel 
anxiety and grief: so they approached him to enjoy the pleasure of 
gazing at him, and invited him to return with them to their house, 
and to join with them in a carousal that night. 

He assented to their proposal ; and after he had gone with them to 
the house, the tailor went out to the market; night having then ap- 
proached. He bought some fried fish, and bread and limes and 
sweetmeat, and, returning with them, placed the fish before the 
humpback, and they sat down to eat; and the tailor's wife took a 
large piece of fish, and crammed the humpback with it, and, closing 
his mouth with her hand, said. By Allah, thou shalt not swallow it 
but by gulping it at once, and I will not give thee time to chew it. 
He therefore swallowed it; but it contained a large and sharp bone, 
which stuck across in his throat, his destiny having so determined, 
and he expired. The tailor exclaimed. There is no strength nor 
power but in God, the High, the Great! Alas, that this poor creature 
should not have died but in this manner by our hands! — Where- 
fore this idling ? exclaimed the woman. — And what can I do ? asked 
her husband. — Arise, she answered, and take him in thy bosom, and 
cover him with a silk napkin: I will go out first, and do thou follow 
me, this very night, and say. This is my son, and this is his mother; 
and we are going to convey him to the physician, that he may give 
him some medicine. 
No sooner had the tailor heard these words than he arose, and took 



the humpback in his bosom. His wife, accompanying him, ex- 
claimed, O my child! may Allah preserve thee! Where is the part 
in which thou feelest pain; and where hath this small-pox attacked 
thee? — So every one who saw them said. They are conveying a child 
smitten with the small-pox. Thus they proceeded, inquiring, as they 
went, for the abode of the physician; and the people directed them 
to the house of a physician who was a Jew; and they knocked at the 
door, and there came down to them a black slave-girl, who opened 
the door, and beheld a man carrying (as she imagined) a child, and 
attended by its mother; and she said. What is your business? — We 
have a child here, answered the tailor's wife, and we want the 
physician to see him: take, then, this quarter of a piece of gold, and 
give it to thy master, and let him come down and see my son; for 
he is ill. The girl, therefore, went up, and the tailor's wife, entering 
the vestibule, said to her husband, Leave the humpback here, and 
let us take ourselves away. And the tailor, accordingly, set him up 
against the wall, and went out with his wife. 

The slave-girl, meanwhile, went in to the Jew, and said to him. 
Below, in the house, is a sick person, with a woman and a man : and 
they have given me a quarter of a piece of gold for thee, that thou 
mayest prescribe for them what may suit his case. And when the 
Jew saw the quarter of a piece of gold, he rejoiced, and, rising in 
haste, went down in the dark: and in doing so, his foot struck against 
the lifeless humpback. O Ezra! he exclaimed — O Heavens and the 
Ten Commandments! O Aaron, and Joshua son of Nun! It seemeth 
that I have stumbled against this sick person, and he hath fallen 
down the stairs and died! And how shall I go forth with one killed 
from my ho-use? O Ezra's ass!^ — He then raised him, and took him 
up from the court of the house to his wife, and acquainted her with 
the accident. — And why sittest thou here idle? said she; for if thou 
remain thus until daybreak our lives will be lost: let me and thee, 

^ 'Ozeyr, or Ezra, "riding on an ass by the ruins of Jerusalem, after it had been 
destroyed by the Chaldeans, doubted in his mind by what means God could raise 
the city and its inhabitants again; whereupon God caused him to die, and he 
remained in that condition a hundred years; at the end of which God restored him 
to life, and he found a basket of figs and a cruse of wine he had with him, not in 
the least spoiled or corrupted, but his ass was dead, the bones only remaining; and 
these, while the Prophet looked on, were raised and cloathed with flesh, becoming an 
ass again, which, being inspired with life, began immediately to bray." — Sale's Koran, 
ch. ii., note [p. 31, ed. 1734]. 


then, take him up to the terrace, and throw him into the house of our 
neighbour the MusHm; for he is the steward of the Sultan's kitchen, 
and often do the cats come to his house, and eat of the food which 
they find there; as do the mice too; and if he remain there for a 
night, the dogs will come down to him from the terraces and eat 
him up entirely. So the Jew and his wife went up, carrying 
the humpback, and let him down by his hands and feet to the 
pavement; placing him against the wall; which having done, they 

Not long had the humpback been thus deposited when the steward 
returned to his house, and opened the door, and, going up with a 
lighted candle in his hand, found a son of Adam standing in the 
corner next the kitchen; upon which he exclaimed. What is this? 
By Allah, the thief that hath stolen our goods is none other than a 
son of Adam, who taketh what he findeth of flesh or grease, even 
though I keep it concealed from the cats and the dogs; and if I 
killed all the cats and dogs of the quarter it would be of no use; for 
he Cometh down from the terraces! — And so saying, he took up a 
great mallet, and struck him with it, and then, drawing close to him, 
gave him a second blow with it upon the chest, when the humpback 
fell down, and he found that he was dead; whereupon he grieved, 
and said. There is no strength nor power but in God! And he 
feared for himself, and exclaimed. Curse upon the grease and the 
flesh, and upon this night, in which the destiny of this man hath 
been accomplished by my hand! Then, looking upon him, and per- 
ceiving that he was a humpback, he said. Is it not enough that thou 
art humpbacked, but must thou also be a robber, and steal the flesh 
and the grease? O Protector, cover me with thy gracious shelter! — 
And he lifted him upon his shoulders, and descended, and went 
forth from the house, towards the close of the night, and stopped not 
until he had conveyed him to the commencement of the market- 
street, where he placed him upon his feet by the side of a shop at the 
entrance of a lane, and there left him and retired. 

Soon after there came a Christian, the Sultan's broker, who, in 
a state of intoxication, had come forth to visit the bath; and he 
advanced staggering, until he drew near to the humpback, when he 
turned his eyes, and beheld one standing by him. Now, some persons 


had snatched off his turban early in the night, and when he saw the 
humpback standing there, he concluded that he intended to do the 
same; so he clenched his fist, and struck him on the neck. Down 
fell the humpback upon the ground, and the Christian called out 
to the watchman o£ the market, while, still in the excess of his in- 
toxication, he continued beating the humpback, and attempting to 
throttle him. As he was thus employed, the watchman came, and, 
finding the Christian kneeling upon the Muslim and beating him, 
said. Arise, and quit him! He arose, therefore, and the watchman, 
approaching the humpback, saw that he was dead, and exclaimed, 
How is that the Christian dareth to kill the Muslim ? Then seizing 
the Christian, he bound his hands behind him, and took him to the 
house of the Wali;^ the Christian saying within himself, O Heavens! 
O Virgin! how have I killed this man? and how quickly did he 
die from a blow of the hand! — Intoxication had departed, and re- 
flection had come. 

The humpback and the Christian passed the remainder of the night 
in the house of the Wali, and the Wali ordered the executioner to 
proclaim the Christian's crime, and he set up a gallows, and sta- 
tioned him beneath it. The executioner then came, and threw the 
rope round his neck, and was about to hang him, when the Sultan's 
steward pushed through the crowd, seeing the Christian standing 
beneath the gallows, and the people made way for him, and he said 
to the executioner, Do it not, for it was I who killed him. — Where- 
fore didst thou kill him? said the Wali. He answered, I went into 
my house last night, and saw that he had descended from the terrace 
and stolen my goods; so I struck him with a mallet upon his chest, 
and he died, and I carried him out, and conveyed him to the market- 
street, where I set him up in such a place, at the entrance of such a 
lane. Is it not enough for me to have killed a Muslim, that a Chris- 
tian should be killed on my account? Hang, then, none but me. — 
The Wali, therefore, when he heard these words, liberated the Chris- 
tian broker, and said to the executioner. Hang this man, on the 
ground of his confession. And he took off the rope from the neck of 
the Christian, and put it round the neck of the steward, and having 
stationed him beneath the gallows, was about to hang him, when 

2 Chief police magistrate. 


the Jewish physician pushed through the crowd, and called out 
to the executioner, saying to him, Do it not; for none killed him 
but I; and the case was this: he came to my house to be cured 
of a disease, and as I descended to him I struck against him 
with my foot, and he died: kill not the steward, therefore; but kill 
me. So the Wali gave orders to hang the Jewish physician; and the 
executioner took off the rope from the steward's neck, and put it 
round the neck of the Jew. But, lo, the tailor came, and, forcing his 
way among the people, said to the executioner, Do it not; for none 
killed him but I; and it happened thus: I was out amusing myself 
during the day, and as I was returning at the commencement of 
the night, I met this humpback in a state of intoxication, with a tam- 
bourine, and singing merrily; and I stopped to divert myself by 
looking at him, and took him to my house. I then bought some 
fish, and we sat down to eat, and my wife took a piece of fish and 
a morsel of bread, and crammed them into his mouth, and he was 
choked, and instantly died. Then I and my wife took him to the 
house of the Jew, and the girl came down and opened the door, and 
while she went up to her master, I set up the humpback by the stairs, 
and went away with my wife: so, when the Jew came down and 
stumbled against him, he thought that he had killed him. — And he 
said to the Jew, Is this true? He answered. Yes. The tailor, then 
looking towards the Wali, said to him. Liberate the Jew, and hang 
me. And when the Wali heard this he was astonished at the case 
of the humpback, and said. Verily this is an event that should be 
recorded in books! And he said to the executioner. Liberate the 
Jew, and hang the tailor on account of his own confession. So the 
executioner had him forward, saying. Dost thou put forward this 
and take back that; and shall we not hang one? And he put the 
rope round the neck of the tailor. 

Now the humpback was the Sultan's buffoon, and the Sultan could 
not bear him to be out of his sight; and when the humpback had 
got drunk, and been absent that night and the next day until noon, 
the King inquired respecting him of some of his attendants, and 
they answered him, O our lord, the Wali hath taken him forth 
dead, and gave orders to hang the person who killed him, and there 
came a second and a third person, each saying. None killed him but 


I: — and describing to the Wali the cause of his kiUing him. When 
the King, therefore, heard this, he called out to the Chamberlain, 
and said to him. Go down to the Wali, and bring them all hither 
before me. So the Chamberlain went down, and found that the 
executioner had almost put to death the tailor, and he called out to 
him, saying. Do it not: — and informed the WaU that the case had 
been reported to the King. And he took him, and the humpback 
borne with him, and the tailor and the Jew and the Christian and 
the steward, and went up with them all to the King; and when the 
Wali came into the presence of the King, he kissed the ground, and 
related to him all that had happened. And the King was astonished, 
and was moved with merriment, at hearing this tale; and he com- 
manded that it should be written in letters of gold. He then said to 
those who were present. Have ye ever heard anything like the story 
of this humpback ? And upon this the Christian advanced, and said, 
O King of the age, if thou permit me I will relate to thee an event 
that hath occurred to me more wonderful and strange and exciting 
than the story of the humpback. — Tell us then thy story, said the 
King. And the Christian related as follows: — 

The Story Told by the Christian Broker 

Know, O King of the age, that I came to this country with 
merchandise, and destiny stayed me among your people. I was born 
in Cairo, and am one of its Copts, and there I was brought up. My 
father was a broker; and when I had attained to manhood, he 
died, and I succeeded to his business; and as I was sitting one day, 
lo, a young man of most handsome aspect, and clad in a dress of the 
richest description, came to me, riding upon an ass, and when he saw 
me, saluted me; whereupon I rose to him, to pay him honour, and 
he produced a handkerchief containing some sesame, and said. What 
is the value of an ardebb^ of this ? I answered him, A hundred pieces 
of silver. And he said to me, Take the carriers and the measures, and 
repair to the Khan of El-Jawali in the district of Bab en-Nasr :^ there 

3 In Cairo, nearly five bushels. 

^"Gate of Victory or of Aid": the easternmost of the northern gates of Cairo built 
in 1088. The Khan referred to is mentioned by El-Makrizi as being situated at a 
short distance within the present gate and by the site of the older gate of the same 
name, and as existing in his time [1417]. 


wilt thou find me. And he left me and went his way, after having 
given me the handkerchief with the sample of the sesame. So I went 
about to the purchasers; and the price of each ardebb amounted to a 
hundred and twenty pieces of silver; and I took with me four car- 
riers, and went to him. I found him waiting my arrival; and when 
he saw me he rose and opened a magazine, and we measured its 
contents, and the whole amounted to fifty ardebbs. The young man 
then said. Thou shalt have, for every ardebb, ten pieces of silver as 
brokerage; and do thou receive the price and keep it in thy care: the 
whole sum will be five thousand; and thy share of it, five hundred: 
so there will remain for me four thousand and five hundred; and 
when I shall have finished the sale of the goods contained in my 
store-room, I will come to thee and receive it. I replied, It shall be as 
thou desirest. And I kissed his hand, and left him. Thus there 
accrued to me, on that day, a thousand pieces of silver, [besides my 

He was absent from me a month, at the expiration of which he 
came and said to me, Where is the money ? I answered. Here it is, 
ready. And he said, Keep it until I come to thee to receive it. And 
I remained expecting him; but he was absent from me another 
month; after which he came again, and said, Where is the money? 
Whereupon I arose and saluted him, and said to him. Wilt thou eat 
something with us? He, however, declined, and said. Keep the 
money until I shall have gone and returned to receive it from thee. 
He then departed; and I arose, and prepared for him the money, 
and sat expecting him; but again he absented himself from me for 
a month, and then came and said. After this day I will receive it 
from thee. And he departed, and I made ready the money for him 
as before, and sat waiting his return. Again, however, he remained 
a month absent from me, and I said within myself, Verily this young 
man is endowed with consummate liberaHty! After the month he 
came, attired in rich clothing, and resembling the full moon, appear- 
ing as if he had just come out of the bath, with red cheek and fair 
forehead, and a mole like a globule of ambergris. When I beheld 
him I kissed his hand, and invoked a blessing upon him, and said 
to him, O my master, wilt thou not take thy money? — Have 
patience with me, he answered, until I shall have transacted all my 


aflFairs, after which I will receive it from thee. And so saying, he 
departed; and I said within myself, By Allah, when he cometh I 
will entertain him as a guest, on account of the profit which I have 
derived from his money; for great wealth hath accrued to me from it. 

At the close of the year he returned, clad in a dress richer than the 
former; and I swore to him that he should alight to be my guest. — 
On the condition, he replied, that thou expend nothing of my money 
that is in thy possession. I said. Well: — and, having seated him, 
prepared what was requisite of meats and drinks and other pro- 
visions, and placed them before him, saying. In the name of Allah! 
And he drew near to the table, and put forth his left hand, and thus 
ate with me: so I was surprised at him;^ and when we had finished 
he washed his hand, and I gave him a napkin with which to wipe it. 
We then sat down to converse, and I said, O my master, dispel a 
trouble from my mind. Wherefore didst thou eat with thy left 
hand? Probably something paineth thee in thy right hand? — On 
hearing these words, he stretched forth his arm from his sleeve, and 
behold, it was maimed — an arm without a hand! And I wondered 
at this; but he said to me. Wonder not; nor say in thy heart that I 
ate with thee with my left hand from a motive of self-conceit; for 
rather to be wondered at is the cause of the cutting off of my right 
hand. And what, said I, was the cause of it? He answered thus: — 

Know that I am from Baghdad: my father was one of the chief 
people of that city; and when I had attained the age of manhood, I 
heard the wanderers and travellers and merchants conversing respect- 
ing the land of Egypt, and their words remained in my heart until 
my father died, when I took large sums of money, and prepared 
merchandise consisting of the stuffs of Baghdad and of El-Mosil, and 
similar precious goods, and, having packed them up, journeyed 
from Baghdad; and God decreed me safety until I entered this 
your city. And so saying, he wept, and repeated these verses: — 

The blear-eyed escapeth a pit into which the clear-sighted falleth; 
And the ignorant, an expression by which the shrewd sage is ruined. 
The believer can scarce earn his food, while the impious infidel is 

What art or act can a man devise? It is what the Almighty appointeth! 

^ The Arabs consider it indecorous to eat with the left hand. 


I entered Cairo, continued the young man, and deposited the stuffs 
in the Khan o£ Mesrur,^ and, having unbound my packages and put 
them in the magazines, gave to the servant some money to buy for 
us something to eat, after which I slept a little; and v^hen I arose, 
I w^ent to Beyn el-Kasreyn. I then returned, and passed the night; 
and in the morning following, I opened a bale of stuff, and said 
within myself, I will arise and go through some of the market- 
streets, and see the state of the mart. So I took some stuff, and made 
some of my servants carry it, and proceeded until I arrived at the 
Keysariyeh^ of Jaharkas, where the brokers came to me, having 
heard of my arrival, and took from me the stuff, and cried it about 
for sale; but the price bidden amounted not to the prime cost. And 
upon this the Sheykh of the brokers said to me, O my master, I 
know a plan by which thou mayest profit; and it is this: that thou 
do as other merchants, and sell thy merchandise upon credit for a 
certain period, employing a scrivener and a witness and a money- 
changer, and receive a portion of the profits every Thursday and 
Monday; so shalt thou make of every piece of silver two; and be- 
sides that, thou wilt be able to enjoy the amusements afforded by 
Egypt and its Nile. — The advice is judicious, I replied: and accord- 
ingly I took the brokers with me to the Khan, and they conveyed 
the stuffs to the Keysariyeh, where I sold it to the merchants, 
writing a bond in their names, which I committed to the money- 
changer, and taking from him a corresponding bond. I then re- 
turned to the Khan, and remained there some days; and every day 
I took for my breakfast a cup of wine, and had mutton and sweet- 
meats prepared for me, until the month in which I became entitled 
to the receipt of the profits, when I seated myself every Thursday 
and Monday at the shops of the merchants, and the money-changer 
went with the scrivener and brought me the money. 

Thus did I until one day I went to the bath and returned to the 
Khan, and, entering my lodging, took for my breakfast a cup of 
wine, and then slept; and when I awoke I ate a fowl, and perfumed 
myself with essence, and repaired to the shop of a merchant named 
Bedr-ed-Din the Gardener, who, when he saw me, welcomed me, 

6 [In the Beyn el-Kasreyn or "Betwixt the Palaces," by the present Suk en-Nahhasin. 
See Lane-Poole, Story of Cairo (1902), pp. 266-270.] 
^ A superior kind of suk or market. 


and conversed with me a while in his shop; and as we were thus 
engaged, lo, a female came and seated herself by my side. She 
wore a headkerchief inclined on one side, and the odours of sweet 
perfumes were diffused from her, and she captivated my reason by 
her beauty and loveliness as she raised her izar and I beheld her 
black eyes. She saluted Bedr-ed-Din, and he returned her salutation, 
and stood conversing with her; and when I heard her speech, love 
for her took entire possession of my heart. She then said to Bedr-ed- 
Din, Hast thou a piece of stuff woven with pure gold thread ? And 
he produced to her a piece; and she said. May I take it and go, and 
then send thee the price? But he answered. It is impossible, O my 
mistress; for this is the owner of the stuff, and I owe him a portion 
of the profit. — Woe to thee! said she: it is my custom to take of 
thee each piece of stuff for a considerable sum of money, giving 
thee a gain beyond thy wish, and then to send thee the price. — Yes, 
he rejoined; but I am in absolute want of the price this day. And 
upon this she took the piece and threw it back to him upon his 
breast, saying. Verily your class knows not how to respect any 
person's rank! And she arose, and turned away. I felt then as if 
my soul went with her, and, rising upon my feet, I said to her, O 
my mistress, kindly bestow a look upon me, and retrace thine 
honoured steps. And she returned, and smiled and said. For thy 
sake I return. And she sat opposite me upon the seat of the shop; 
and I said to Bedr-ed-Din, What is the price that thou hast agreed 
to give for this piece ? He answered. Eleven hundred pieces of silver. 
And I said to him. Thy profit shall be a hundred pieces of silver: 
give me then a paper, and I will write for thee the price upon it. 
I then took the piece of stuff from him, and wrote him the paper 
with my own hand, and gave the piece of stuff to the lady, saying 
to her, Take it and go; and if thou wilt, bring the price to me in the 
market; or, if thou wilt, it shall be my present to thee. She replied, 
God recompense thee, and bless thee with my property, and make 
thee my husband; and may God accept this prayer! — O my mistress, 
said I, let this piece of stuff be thine, and another like it, and permit 
me to see thy face. And upon this she raised her veil; and when I 
beheld her face, the sight drew from me a thousand sighs, and my 
heart was entangled by her love, so that I no longer remained master 


of my reason. She then lowered the veil again, and took the piece of 
stuff, saying, O my master, leave me not desolate. So she departed, 
while I continued sitting in the market-street until past the hour of 
afternoon-prayer, with wandering mind, overpowered by love. In 
the excess of my passion, before I rose I asked the merchant respect- 
ing her; and he answered me. She is a rich lady, the daughter of a 
deceased Emir, who left her great property. 

I then took leave of him, and returned to the Khan, and the 
supper was placed before me; but, reflecting upon her, I could eat 
nothing. I laid myself down to rest; but sleep came not to me, and 
I remained awake until the morning, when I arose and put on a 
suit of clothing different from that which I had worn the day before; 
and, having drunk a cup of wine, and eaten a few morsels as my 
breakfast, repaired again to the shop of the merchant, and saluted 
him, and sat down with him. The lady soon came, wearing a dress 
more rich than the former, and attended by a slave-girl; and she 
seated herself, and saluted me instead of Bedr-ed-Din, and said, with 
an eloquent tongue which I had never heard surpassed in softness 
or sweetness. Send with me some one to receive the twelve hundred 
pieces of silver, the price of the piece of stuff. — Wherefore, said I, 
this haste? She replied. May we never lose thee! And she handed 
to me the price; and I sat conversing with her, and made a sign 
to her, which she understood, intimating my wish to visit her: 
whereupon she rose in haste, expressing displeasure at my hint. My 
heart clung! to her, and I followed in the direction of her steps 
through the market-street; and lo, a slave-girl came to me, and said, 
O my master, answer the summons of my mistress. Wondering at 
this, I said. No one here knoweth me. — How soon, she rejoined, 
hast thou forgotten her! My mistress is she who was to-day at the 
shop of the merchant Bedr-ed-Din. — So I went with her until we 
arrived at the money-changer's; and when her mistress, who was 
there, beheld me, she drew me to her side, and said, O my beloved, 
thou hast wounded my heart, and love of thee hath taken possession 
of it; and from the time that I first saw thee, neither sleep nor food 
nor drink hath been pleasant to me. I replied, And more than that 
do I feel; and the state in which I am needs no complaint to 
testify it. — Then shall I visit thee, O my beloved, she asked, or wilt 


thou come to me? [For our marriage must be a secret.] — I am a 
stranger, I answered, and have no place of reception but the Khan; 
therefore, if thou wilt kindly permit me to go to thine abode, the 
pleasure will be perfect. — Well, she replied; but to-night is the eve 
of Friday, and let nothing be done till to-morrow, when, after thou 
hast joined in the prayers, do thou mount thine ass, and inquire for 
the Habbaniyeh; and when thou hast arrived there, ask for the 
house called the Ka'ah of Barakat the Nakib,^ known by the sur- 
name of Abu-Shameh; for there do I reside; and delay not; for I 
shall be anxiously expecting thee. 

On hearing this I rejoiced exceedingly, and we parted; and I re- 
turned to the Khan in which I lodged. I passed the whole night 
sleepless, and was scarcely sure that the daybreak had appeared when 
I rose and changed my clothes, and, having perfumed myself with 
essences and sweet scents, took with me fifty pieces of gold in a 
handkerchief, and walked from the Khan of Mesrur to Bab 
Zuweyleh,^ where I mounted an ass, and said to its owner. Go with 
me to the Habbaniyeh. And in less than the twinkling of an eye he 
set off, and soon he stopped at a by-street called Darb El-Munakkiri, 
when I said to him. Enter the street, and inquire for the Ka'ah of 
the Nakib. He was absent but a little while, and, returning, said. 
Alight. — Walk on before me, said I, to the Ka'ah. And he went on 
until he had led me to the house; whereupon I said to him, To- 
morrow come to me hither to convey me back. — In the name of 
Allah, he replied : and I handed to him a quarter of a piece of gold, 
and he took it and departed. I then knocked at the door, and there 
came forth to me two young virgins in whom the forms of woman- 
hood had just developed themselves, resembling two moons, and 
they said. Enter; for our mistress is expecting thee, and she hath not 
slept last night from her excessive love for thee. I entered an upper 
saloon with seven doors: around it were latticed windows looking 
upon a garden in which were fruits of every kind, and running 
streams and singing birds: it was plastered with imperial gypsum, 
in which a man might see his face reflected: its roof was ornamented 
with gilding, and surrounded by inscriptions in letters of gold upon 

8 Chief. 
^ Or Zawileh, the southern gate of (the original) Cairo. 


a ground o£ ultramarine: it comprised a variety of beauties, and 
shone in the eyes of beholders: the pavement v^^as of coloured 
marbles, having in the midst of it a fountain, with four snakes of 
red gold casting forth water from their mouths like pearls and 
jewels at the corners of the pool; and it was furnished with carpets 
of coloured silk, and mattresses. 

Having entered, I seated myself; and scarcely had I done so when 
the lady approached me. She wore a crown set with pearls and 
jewels; her hands and feet were stained with henna; and her bosom 
was ornamented with gold. As soon as she beheld me she smiled in 
my face, and embraced me, saying, Is it true that thou hast come to 
me, or is this a dream? — I am thy slave, I answered; and she said, 
Thou art welcome. Verily, from the time when I first saw thee, 
neither sleep hath been sweet to me nor hath food been pleasant! — 
In such case have / been, I replied; — and we sat down to converse; 
but I hung down my head towards the ground, in bashfulness; and 
not long had I thus remained when a repast was placed before me, 
consisting of the most exquisite dishes, as fricandoes and hashes and 
stuffed fowls. I ate with her until we were satisfied; when they 
brought the basin and ewer, and I washed my hands; after which 
we perfumed ourselves with rose-water infused with musk, and 
sat down again to converse; expressing to each other our mutual 
passion; and her love took such possession of me that all the wealth 
I possessed seemed worthless in comparison. In this manner we 
continued to enjoy ourselves until, night approaching, the female 
slaves brought supper and wine, a complete service; and we drank 
until midnight. Never in my life had I passed such a night. And 
when morning came, I arose, and, having thrown to her the hand- 
kerchief containing the pieces of gold, I took leave of her and went 
out; but as I did so she wept, and said, O my master, when shall I 
see again this lovely face? I answered her, I will be with thee at 
the commencement of the night. And when I went forth, I found 
the owner of the ass, who had brought me the day before, waiting 
for me at the door; and I mounted, and returned with him to the 
Khan of Mesrur, where I alighted, and gave to him half a piece of 
gold, saying to him. Come hither at sunset. He replied, On the head 
be thy command. 


I entered the Khan, and ate my breakfast, and then went forth to 
collect the price of my stuffs; after which I returned. I had prepared 
for my wife a roasted lamb, and purchased some sweetmeat; and 
I now called the porter, described to him the house, and gave him his 
hire. Having done this, I occupied myself again with my business 
until sunset, when the owner of the ass came, and I took fifty pieces 
of gold, and put them into a handkerchief. Entering the house, I 
found that they had wiped the marble and polished the vessels of 
copper and brass, and filled the lamps and lighted the candles, and 
dished the supper and strained the wine; and when my wife saw me, 
she threw her arms around my neck, and said, Thou hast made me 
desolate by thine absence! The tables were then placed before us, 
and we ate until we were satisfied, and the slave-girls took away the 
first table, and placed before us the wine; and we sat drinking, and 
eating of the dried fruits, and making merry, until midnight. We 
then slept until morning, when I arose and handed her the fifty 
pieces of gold as before, and left her. 

Thus I continued to do for a long time, until I passed the night 
and awoke possessing not a piece of silver nor one of gold; and I 
said within myself, This is of the work of the Devil! And I repeated 
these verses: — 

Poverty causeth the lustre of a man to grow dim, like the yellowness of 

the setting sun. 
When absent, he is not remembered among mankind; and when present, 

he shareth not their pleasures. 
In the market-streets he shunneth notice; and in desert places he poureth 

forth his tears. 
By Allah! a man, among his own relations, when afflicted with poverty, 

is as a stranger! 

With these reflections I walked forth into Beyn el-Kasreyn, and 
proceeded thence to Bab Zuweyleh, where I found the people 
crowding together, so that the gate was stopped up by their number; 
and, as destiny willed, I saw there a trooper, and, unintentionally 
pressing against him, my hand came in contact with his pocket, and 
I felt it, and found that it contained a purse; and I caught hold of 
the purse, and took it from his pocket. But the trooper felt that his 
pocket was lightened, and, putting his hand into it, found nothing; 


upon which he looked aside at me, and raised his hand with the 
mace, and struck me upon my head. I fell to the ground, and the 
people surrounded us, and seized the bridle of the trooper's horse, 
saying, On account of the crowd dost thou strike this young man 
such a blow? But he called out to them and said. This is a robber! 
On hearing this I feared. The people around me said. This is a 
comely young man, and hath taken nothing. While some, however, 
believed this, others disbelieved; and after many words, the people 
dragged me along, desiring to liberate me: but, as it was predestined, 
there came at this moment the Wali and other magistrates entering 
the gate, and, seeing the people surrounding me and the trooper, the 
Wali said. What is the news? The trooper answered. By Allah, O 
Emir, this is a robber: I had in my pocket a blue purse containing 
twenty pieces of gold; and he took it while I was pressed by the 
crowd. — Was any one with thee? asked the Wali. The trooper 
answered, No. And the Wali called out to the chief of his servants, 
saying, Seize him and search him. So he seized me; and protection 
was withdrawn from me; and the Wali said to him. Strip him of 
all that is upon him. And when he did so, they found the purse 
in my clothes: and the Wali, taking it, counted the money, and 
found it to be twenty pieces of gold, as the trooper had said; where- 
upon he was enraged, and called out to his attendants, saying. Bring 
him forward. They, therefore, brought me before him, and he said 
to me, O young man, tell the truth. Didst thou steal this purse? — 
And I hung down my head towards the ground, saying within my- 
self. If I answer that I did not steal it, it will be useless, for he hath 
produced it from my clothes; and if I say I stole it, I fall into trouble. 
I then raised my head, and said. Yes, I took it. And when the Wali 
heard these words, he wondered, and called witnesses, who pre- 
sented themselves, and gave their testimony to my confession. — All 
this took place at Bab Zuweyleh. — The Wali then ordered the 
executioner to cut off my hand; and he cut off my right hand; but 
the heart of the trooper was moved with compassion for me, and 
he interceded for me that I should not be killed: so the Wali left 
me and departed. The people however continued around me, and 
gave me to drink a cup of wine; and the trooper gave me the purse, 
saying, Thou art a comely youth, and it is not fit that thou shouldst 


be a thief. And I took it from him, and addressed him with these 
verses : — 

By Allah! good sir, I was not a robber; nor was I a thief, O best of 

But fortune's vicissitudes overthrew me suddenly, and anxiety and trouble 

and poverty overpowered me. 
I cast it not; but it was the Deity who cast an arrow that threw down the 

kingly diadem from my head. 

The trooper then left me and departed, after having given me the 
purse, and I went my way; but first I wrapped my hand in a piece 
of rag, and put it in my bosom. My condition thus altered, and my 
countenance pallid in consequence of my sufferings, I walked to the 
Ka'ah, and, in a disordered state of mind, threw myself upon the 
bed. My wife, seeing my complexion thus changed, said to me. What 
hath pained thee, and wherefore do I see thee thus altered? I 
answered her. My head acheth, and I am not well. And on hearing 
this she was vexed, and became ill on my account, and said. Burn not 
my heart, O my master! Sit up, and raise thy head, and tell me 
what hath happened to thee this day; for I read a tale in thy face. — 
Abstain from speaking to me, I replied. And she wept, and said, 
it seemeth that thou art tired of us; for I see thee to be conducting 
thyself in a manner contrary to thy usual habit. Then she wept 
again, and continued addressing me, though I made her no reply, 
until the approach of night, when she placed some food before me; 
but I abstained from it, fearing that she should see me eat with my 
left hand, and said, I have no desire to eat at present. She then said 
again. Tell me what hath happened to thee this day, and where- 
fore I see thee anxious and broken-hearted. I answered, I will 
presently tell thee at my leisure. And she put the wine towards me, 
saying. Take it; for it will dispel thine anxiety; and thou must drink, 
and tell me thy story. I replied, therefore. If it must be so, give me 
to drink with thy hand. And she filled a cup and drank it; and then 
filled it again and handed it to me, and I took it from her with my 
left hand, and, while tears ran from my eyes, I repeated these 
verses : — 

When God willeth an event to befall a man who is endowed with reason 
and hearing and sight, 


He deafeneth his ears, and blindeth his heart, and draweth his reason 

from him as a hair. 
Till, having fulfilled his purpose against him, He restoreth him his 

reason that he may be admonished. 

Having thus said, I w^ept again; and when she saw me do so, she 
uttered a loud cry, and said, What is the reason of thy weeping? 
Thou hast burned my heart! And wherefore didst thou take the 
cup with thy left hand? — I answered her, I have a boil upon my 
right hand. — Then put it forth, said she, that I may open it for 
thee. — It is not yet, I replied, the proper time for opening it; and 
continue not to ask me; for I will not put it forth at present. I then 
drank the contents of the cup, and she continued to hand me the 
wine until intoxication overcame me, and I fell asleep in the place 
where I was sitting; upon which she discovered that my right arm 
was without a hand, and, searching me, saw the purse containing 
the gold. 

Grief, such as none else experienceth, overcame her at the sight; 
and she suffered incessant torment on my account until the morning, 
when I awoke, and found that she had prepared for me a dish com- 
posed of four boiled fowls, which she placed before me. She then 
gave me to drink a cup of wine; and I ate and drank, and put down 
the purse, and was about to depart; but she said. Whither wouldst 
thou go? I answered, To such a place, to dispel somewhat of the 
anxiety which oppresseth my heart. — Go not, said she; but rather sit 
down again. So I sat down, and she said to me. Hath thy love of 
me become so excessive that thou hast expended all thy wealth upon 
me, and lost thy hand ? I take thee, then, as witness against me, and 
God also is witness, that I will never desert thee; and thou shalt see 
the truth of my words. — Immediately, therefore, she sent for wit- 
nesses, who came; and she said to them. Write my contract of 
marriage to this young man, and bear witness that I have received 
the dowry. And they did as she desired them; after which she said. 
Bear witness that all my property which is in this chest, and all my 
memluks and female slaves, belong to this young man. Accordingly, 
they declared themselves witnesses of her declaration, and I ac- 
cepted the property, and they departed after they had received their 
fees. She then took me by my hand, and, having led me to a closet, 


opened a large chest, and said to me, See what is containeth in this 
chest. I looked, therefore; and lo, it was full of handkerchiefs; and 
she said, This is thy property, which I have received from thee : for 
every time that thou gavest me a handkerchief containing fifty 
pieces of gold, I wrapped it up, and threw it into this chest: take, 
then, thy property; for God hath restored it to thee, and thou art 
now of high estate. Fate hath afflicted thee on my account so that 
thou hast lost thy right hand, and I am unable to compensate thee: 
if I should sacrifice my life, it would be but a small thing, and thy 
generosity would still have surpassed mine. — She then added, Now 
take possession of thy property. So I received it; and she trans- 
ferred the contents of her chest to mine, adding her property to 
mine which I had given her. My heart rejoiced, my anxiety ceased, 
and I approached and kissed her, and made myself merry by drink- 
ing with her; after which she said again. Thou hast sacrificed all 
thy wealth and thy hand through love of me, and how can I com- 
pensate thee ? By Allah, if I gave my life for love of thee, it were but 
a small thing, and I should not do justice to thy claims upon me. — 
She then wrote a deed of gift transferring to me all her apparel, and 
her ornaments of gold and jewels, and her houses and other posses- 
sions; and she passed that night in grief on my account, having 
heard my relation of the accident that had befallen me. 

Thus we remained less than a month, during which time she 
became more and more infirm and disordered; and she endured 
no more than fifty days before she was numbered among the people 
of the other world. So I prepared her funeral, and deposited her 
body in the earth, and having caused recitations of the Kur'an to be 
performed for her, and given a considerable sum of money in alms 
for her sake, returned from the tomb. I found that she had possessed 
abundant wealth, and houses and lands, and among her property 
were the store-rooms of sesame of which I sold to thee the contents 
of one; and I was not prevented from settling with thee during this 
period but by my being busied in seUing the remainder, the price 
of which I have not yet entirely received. Now I desire of thee that 
thou wilt not oppose me in that which I am about to say to thee; 
since I have eaten of thy food: I give thee the price of the sesame, 


which is in thy hands. — This which I have told thee was the cause 
of my eating with my left hand. 

I repHed, Thou hast treated me with kindness and generosity: — 
and he then said, Thou must travel with me to my country; for I 
have bought merchandise of Cairo and Alexandria. Wilt thou ac- 
company me? — I answered, Yes: — and promised him that I would 
be ready by the first day of the following month. So I sold all that 
I possessed, and, having bought merchandise with the produce, 
travelled with the young man to this thy country, where he sold his 
merchandise and bought other in its stead, after which he returned 
to the land of Egypt: but it was my lot to remain here, and to ex- 
perience that which hath befallen me this night during my absence 
from my native country. — Now is not this, O King of the age, more 
wonderful than the story of the humpback? The King replied, Ye 
must be hanged, all of you! — And upon this, the Sultan's steward 
advanced towards the King, and said. If thou permit me, I will relate 
to thee a story that I happened to hear just before I found this 
humpback; and if it be more wonderful than the events relating 
to him, wilt thou grant us our lives ? — The King answered, Tell thy 
story : — and he began thus : — 

The Story Told by the Sultan's Steward 

I WAS last night with a party who celebrated a recitation of the 
Kur'an, for which purpose they had assembled the professors of 
religion and law; and when these reciters had accomplished their 
task, the servants spread a repast, comprising among other dishes a 
zirbajeh. We approached, therefore, to eat of the zirbajeh; but one 
of the company drew back, and refused to partake of it: we con- 
jured him; yet he swore that he would not eat of it: and we pressed 
him again; but he said. Press me not; for I have suffered enough 
from eating of this dish. And when he had finished, we said to him, 
By Allah, tell us the reason of thine abstaining from eating of this 
zirbajeh. He replied, Because I cannot eat of it unless I wash my 
hands forty times with kali, and forty times with cyperus, and forty 
times with soap; altogether, a hundred and twenty times. And upon 
this, the giver of the entertainment ordered his servants, and they 


brought water and the other things which this man required : so he 
washed his hands as he had described, and advanced, though with 
disgust, and, having seated himself, stretched forth his hand as one 
in fear, and put it into the zirbajeh, and began to eat, while we 
regarded him with the utmost wonder. His hand trembled, and 
when he put it forth, we saw that his thumb was cut off, and that 
he ate with his four fingers: we therefore said to him, We conjure 
thee, by Allah, to tell us how was thy thumb maimed; was it thus 
created by God, or hath some accident happened to it? — O my 
brothers, he answered, not? only have I lost this thumb, but also 
the thumb of the other hand; and each of my feet is in like manner 
deprived of the great toe: but see ye: — and, so saying, he uncovered 
the stump of the thumb of his other hand, and we found it like the 
right; and so also his feet, destitute of the great toes. At the sight of 
this, our wonder increased, and we said to him. We are impatient 
to hear thy story, and thine account of the cause of the amputation 
of thy thumbs and great toes, and the reason of thy washing thy 
hands a hundred and twenty times. So he said, — 

Know that my father was a great merchant, the chief of the 
merchants of the city of Baghdad in the time of the Khalifeh Harun 
Er-Rashid; but he was ardently addicted to the drinking of wine, 
and hearing the lute; and when he died, he left nothing. I buried 
him, and caused recitations of the Kur'an to be performed for him, 
and, after I had mourned for him days and nights, I opened his shop, 
and found that he had left in it but few goods, and that his debts were 
many: however, I induced his creditors to wait, and calmed their 
minds, and betook myself to seUing and buying from week to week, 
and so paying the creditors. 

Thus I continued to do for a considerable period, until I had dis- 
charged all the debts and increased my capital; and as I was sitting 
one day, I beheld a young lady, than whom my eye had never beheld 
any more beautiful, decked with magnificent ornaments and ap- 
parel, riding on a mule, with a slave before her and a slave behind 
her; and she stopped the mule at the entrance of the market-street, 
and entered, followed by a eunuch, who said to her, O my mistress, 
enter, but inform no one who thou art, lest thou open the fire of 
indignation upon us. The eunuch then further cautioned her; and 

THE sultan's steward I35 

when she looked at the shops o£ the merchants, she found none 
more handsome than mine; so, when she arrived before me, with 
the eunuch following her, she sat down upon the seat of my shop, 
and saluted me; and I never heard speech more charming than hers, 
or words more sweet. She then drew aside the veil from her face, 
and I directed at her a glance which drew from me a sigh; my heart 
was captivated by her love, and I continued repeatedly gazing at her 
face, and recited these two verses: — 

Say to the beauty in the dove-coloured veil, Death would indeed be 

welcome to relieve me from my torment. 
Favour me with a visit, that so I may live. See, I stretch forth my hand 

to accept thy liberality. 

And when she had heard my recitation of them, she answered 
thus : — 

May I lose my heart if it cease to love you! For verily my heart loveth 

none but you. 
If my eye regard any charms but yours, may the sight of you never 

rejoice it after absence! 

She then said to me, O youth, hast thou any handsome stuffs ? — O 
my mistress, I answered, thy slave is a poor man; but wait until the 
other merchants open their shops, and then I will bring thee what 
thou desirest. So I conversed with her, drowned in the sea of her 
love, and bewildered by my passion for her, until the merchants 
had opened their shops, when I arose, and procured all that she 
wanted, and the price of these stuffs was five thousand pieces of 
silver: and she handed them all to the eunuch, who took them; after 
which, they both went out from the market-street, and the slaves 
brought! to her the mule, and she mounted, without telling me 
whence she was, and I was ashamed to mention the subject to her: 
consequently, I became answerable for the price to the merchants, 
incurring a debt of five thousand pieces of silver. 

I went home, intoxicated with her love, and they placed before 
me the supper, and I ate a morsel; but reflections upon her beauty 
and loveliness prevented my eating more. I desired to sleep, but 
sleep came not to me; and in this condition I remained for a week. 
The merchants demanded of me their money; but I prevailed upon 


them to wait another week; and after this week, the lady came again, 
riding upon a mule, and attended by a eunuch and two other slaves; 
and, having saluted me, said, O my master, we have been tardy in 
bringing to thee the price of the stuffs: bring now the money- 
changer, and receive it. So the money-changer came, and the eunuch 
gave him the money, and I took it, and sat conversing with her until 
the market was replenished, and the merchants opened their shops, 
when she said to me. Procure for me such and such things. Accord- 
ingly, I procured for her what she desired of the merchants, and she 
took the goods and departed without saying anything to me respect- 
ing the price. When she had gone, therefore, I repented of what 
I had done; for I had procured for her what she demanded for the 
price of a thousand pieces of gold; and as soon as she had disappeared 
from my sight, I said within myself. What kind of love is this ? She 
hath brought me five thousand pieces of silver, and taken goods for 
a thousand pieces of gold! — I feared that the result would be my 
bankruptcy and the loss of the property of others, and said, The 
merchants know none but me, and this woman is no other than a 
cheat, who hath imposed upon me by her beauty and loveliness: 
seeing me to be young, she hath laughed at me, and I asked her not 
where was her residence. 

I remained in a state of perplexity, and her absence was prolonged 
more than a month. Meanwhile the merchants demanded of me 
their money, and so pressed me that I offered my possessions for 
sale, and was on the brink of ruin; but as I was sitting absorbed in 
reflection, suddenly she alighted at the gate of the market-street, and 
came in to me. As soon as I beheld her, my soUcitude ceased, and I 
forgot the trouble which I had suffered. She approached, and ad- 
dressed me with her agreeable conversation, and said. Produce the 
scales, and weigh thy money: — and she gave me the price of the 
goods which she had taken, with a surplus; after which, she amused 
herself by talking with me, and I almost died with joy and happi- 
ness. She then said to me. Hast thou a wife? I answered. No: for 
I am not acquainted with any woman: and wept. So she asked me, 
What causeth thee to weep ? And I answered, A thought that hath 
come into my mind: — and, taking some pieces of gold, gave them to 
the eunuch, requesting him to grant me his mediation in the affair; 


upon which he laughed, and said, She is in love with thee more than 
thou art with her, and hath no want of the stuffs, but hath done this 
only from her love of thee: propose to her, therefore, what thou wilt; 
for she will not oppose thee in that which thou wilt say. Now she 
observed me giving the pieces of gold to the eunuch, and returned, 
and resumed her seat; and I said to her, Shew favour to thy slave, 
and pardon me for that which I am about to say. I then acquainted 
her with the feelings of my heart, and my declaration pleased her, 
and she consented to my proposal, saying. This eunuch will come 
with my letter; and do thou what he shall tell thee; — and she arose, 
and departed. 

I went to the merchants, and delivered to them their money, and 
all profited except myself; for when she left me I mourned for the 
interruption of our intercourse, and I slept not during the whole of 
the next night: but a few days after, her eunuch came to me, and I 
received him with honour, and asked him respecting his mistress. 
He answered, She is sick: — and I said to him. Disclose to me her 
history. He replied. The lady Zubeydeh, the wife of Harun Er- 
Rashid, brought up this damsel, and she is one of her slaves: she 
had desired of her mistress to be allowed the liberty of going out 
and returning at pleasure, and the latter gave her permission: she 
continued, therefore, to do so until she became a chief confident; 
after which, she spoke of thee to her mistress, and begged that she 
would marry her to thee: but her mistress said, I will not do it until 
I see this young man, and if he have a desire for thee, I will marry 
thee to him. We therefore wish to introduce thee immediately into 
the palace; and if thou enter without any one's having knowledge 
of thy presence, thou wilt succeed in accomplishing thy marriage 
with her; but if thy plot be discovered, thy head will be struck off. 
What, then, sayest thou? — I answered. Good: I will go with thee, 
and await the event that shall befall me there. — As soon, then, as 
this next night shall have closed in, said the eunuch, repair to the 
mosque which the lady Zubeydeh hath built on the banks of the 
Tigris, and there say thy prayers, and pass the night. — Most will- 
ingly, I replied. 

Accordingly, when the time of nightfall arrived, I went to the 
mosque, and said my prayers there, and passed the night; and as 


soon as the morning began to dawn I saw two eunuchs approaching 
in a small boat, conveying some empty chests, which they brought 
into the mosque. One of them then departed, and the other re- 
mained; and I looked attentively at him, and lo, it was he who had 
been our intermediary: and soon after, the damsel, my companion, 
came up to us. I rose to her when she approached, and embraced 
her; and she kissed me, and wept; and after we had conversed to- 
gether for a little while, she took me and placed me in a chest, and 
locked it upon me. The slaves then brought a quantity of stuffs, and 
filled with them the other chests, which they locked, and conveyed, 
together with the chest in which I was enclosed, to the boat, accom- 
panied by the damsel; and having embarked them, they plied the 
oars, and proceeded to the palace of the honoured lady Zubeydeh. 
The intoxication of love now ceased in me, and reflection came in 
its place: I repented of what I had done, and prayed God to deliver 
me from my dangerous predicament. 

Meanwhile, they arrived at the gate of the Khalifeh, where they 
landed, and took out all the chests, and conveyed them into the 
palace: but the chief of the doorkeepers, who had been asleep when 
they arrived, was awoke by the sounds of their voices, and cried 
out to the damsel, saying, The chests must be opened, that I may 
see what is in them: — and he arose, and placed his hand upon the 
chest in which I was hidden. My reason abandoned me, my heart 
almost burst from my body, and my limbs trembled; but the damsel 
said. These are the chests of the lady Zubeydeh, and if thou open 
them and turn them over, she will be incensed against thee, and we 
shall all perish. They contain nothing but clothes dyed of various 
colours, except this chest upon which thou hast put thy hand, in 
which there are also some bottles filled with the water of Zemzem,^" 
and if any of the water run out upon the clothes it will spoil their 
colours. Now I have advised thee, and it is for thee to decide: so do 
what thou wilt. — When he heard, therefore, these words, he said to 
her. Take the chests, and pass on: — and the eunuchs immediately 
took them up, and with the damsel, conveyed them into the palace: 
but in an instant, I heard a person crying out, and saying. The 
Khalifeh! The Khalifeh! 

^^ The well at Mekkeh, believed to possess miraculous virtues. 


I was bereft of my reason, and seized with a colic from excessive 
fear; I almost died, and my limbs were affected with a violent 
shaking. The KhaHfeh cried out to the damsel, saying to her. What 
are these chests? She answered, O my lord (may God exalt thy 
dominion!), these chests contain clothes of my mistress Zubeydeh. — 
Open them, said the Khalifeh, that I may see the clothes. — When I 
heard this, I felt sure of my destruction. The damsel could not dis- 
obey his command; but she replied, O Prince of the Faithful, there 
is nothing in these chests but clothes of the lady Zubeydeh, and she 
hath commanded me not to open them to any one. The Khalifeh, 
however, said. The chests must be opened, all of them, that I may 
see their contents: — and immediately he called out to the eunuchs 
to bring them before him. I therefore felt certain that I was on the 
point of destruction. They then brought before him chest after 
chest, and opened each to him, and he examined the contents; and 
when they brought forward the chest in which I was enclosed, I bid 
adieu to life, and prepared myself for death; but as the eunuchs were 
about to open it, the damsel said, O Prince of the Faithful, verily 
this chest containeth things especially appertaining to women; and 
it is proper, therefore, that it should be opened before the lady 
Zubeydeh: — and when the Khalifeh heard her words, he ordered 
the eunuchs to convey all the chests into the interior of the palace. 
The damsel then hastened, and ordered two eunuchs to carry away 
the chest in which I was hidden, and they took it to an inner cham- 
ber, and went their way: whereupon she quickly opened it, and 
made a sign to me to come out: so I did as she desired, and entered 
a closet that was before me, and she locked the door upon me, and 
closed the chest : and when the eunuchs had brought in all the chests, 
and had gone back, she opened the door of the closet, and said. Thou 
hast nothing to fear! May God refresh thine eye! Come forth now, 
and go up with me, that thou mayest have the happiness of kissing 
the ground before the lady Zubeydeh. 

I therefore went with her, and beheld twenty other female slaves, 
high-bosomed virgins, and among them was the lady Zubeydeh, who 
was scarcely able to walk from the weight of the robes and orna- 
ments with which she was decked. As she approached, the female 
slaves dispersed from around her, and I advanced to her, and kissed 


the ground before her. She made a sign to me to sit down: so I 
seated myself before her; and she began to ask me questions re- 
specting my condition and Hneage; to all of which I gave such 
answers that she was pleased, and said, By Allah, the care which we 
have bestowed on the education of this damsel hath not been in 
vain. She then said to me, Know that this damsel is esteemed by 
us as though she were really our child, and she is a trust committed 
to thy care by God. Upon this, therefore, I again kissed the ground 
before her, well pleased to marry the damsel; after which, she com- 
manded me to remain with them ten days. Accordingly, I continued 
with them during this period; but I knew nothing meanwhile of 
the damsel; certain of the maids only bringing me my dinner and 
supper, as my servants. After this, however, the lady Zubeydeh 
asked permission of her husband, the Prince of the Faithful, to 
marry her maid, and he granted her request, and ordered that ten 
thousand pieces of gold should be given to her. 

The lady Zubeydeh, therefore, sent for the Kadi and witnesses, and 
they wrote my contract of marriage to the damsel; and the maids 
then prepared sweetmeats and exquisite dishes, and distributed them 
in all the apartments. Thus they continued to do for a period of ten 
more days; and after the twenty days had passed, they conducted the 
damsel into the bath, preparatively to my being introduced to her as 
her husband. They then brought to me a repast comprising a basin 
of zirbajeh sweetened with sugar, perfumed with rose-water infused 
with musk, and containing different kinds of fricandoed fowls and 
a variety of other ingredients, such as astonished the mind; and, by 
Allah, when this repast was brought, I instantly commenced upon 
the zirbajeh, and ate of it as much as satisfied me, and wiped my 
hand, but forgot to wash it. I remained sitting until it became dark; 
when the maids lighted the candles, and the singing-girls approached 
with the tambourines, and they continued to display the bride, and 
to give presents of gold, until she had perambulated the whole of 
the palace; after which they brought her to me, and disrobed her; 
and as soon as I was left alone with her, I threw my arms around 
her neck, scarcely believing in our union: but as I did so, she per- 
ceived the smell of the zirbajeh from my hand, and immediately 


uttered a loud cry: whereupon the female slaves ran in to her from 
every quarter. 

I W2LS violently agitated, not knov^ing v^hat was the matter; and 
the slaves who had come in said to her, What hath happened to thee, 
O our sister? — Take away from me, she exclaimed to them, this 
madman, whom I imagined to be a man of sense! — What indication 
of my insanity hath appeared to thee? I asked. Thou madman, 
said she, wherefore hast thou eaten of the zirbajeh, and not washed 
thy hand? By Allah, I will not accept thee for thy want of sense, 
and thy disgusting conduct! — And so saying, she took from her side 
a whip, and beat me with it upon my back until I became insensible 
from the number of the stripes. She then said to the other maids. 
Take him to the magistrate of the city police, that he may cut off 
his hand with which he ate the zirbajeh without washing it after- 
wards. On hearing this, I exclaimed, There is no strength nor 
power but in God! Wilt thou cut off my hand on account of my 
eating a zirbajeh and neglecting to wash it? — And the maids who 
were present entreated her, saying to her, O our sister, be not angry 
with him for what he hath done this time. But she replied, By 
Allah, I must cut off something from his extremities! And im- 
mediately she departed, and was absent from me ten days: after 
which, she came again, and said to me, O thou black-faced! Am I 
not worthy of thee? How didst thou dare to eat the zirbajeh and 
not wash thy hand? — ^And she called to the maids, who bound my 
hands behind me, and she took a sharp razor, and cut off both my 
thumbs and both my great toes, as ye see, O companions; and I 
swooned away. She then sprinkled upon my wounds some powder, 
by means of which the blood was stanched; and I said, I will not eat 
of a zirbajeh as long as I live unless I wash my hands forty times 
with kali and forty times with cyperus and forty times with soap : — 
and she exacted of me an oath that I would not eat of this dish 
unless I washed my hands as I have described to you. Therefore, 
when this zirbajeh was brought, my colour changed, and I said 
within myself, This was the cause of the cutting off of my thumbs 
and great toes: — so, when ye compelled me, I said, I must fulfil the 
oath which I have sworn. 


I then said to him (continued the Sultan's steward), And what 
happened to thee after that? He answered, When I had thus sworn 
to her, she was appeased, and I was admitted into her favour and 
we Hved happily together for a considerable time: after which she 
said, The people of the Khalifeh's palace know not that thou hast 
resided here with me, and no strange man beside thee hath entered 
it; nor didst thou enter but through the assistance of the lady 
Zubeydeh. She then gave me fifty thousand pieces of gold, and said 
to me. Take these pieces of gold, and go forth and buy for us a 
spacious house. So I went forth, and purchased a handsome and 
spacious house, and removed thither all the riches that she possessed, 
and all that she had treasured up, and her dresses and rarities. — This 
was the cause of the amputation of my thumbs and great toes. — So 
we ate (said the Sultan's steward), and departed; and after this, the 
accident with the humpback happened to me: this is all my story; 
and peace be on thee. 

The King said. This is not more pleasant than the story of the 
humpback; nay, the story of the humpback is more pleasant than 
this; and ye must all of you be crucified. — The Jew, however, then 
came forward, and, having kissed the ground, said, O King of the 
age, I will relate to thee a story more wonderful than that of the 
humpback: — and the King said. Relate thy story. So he commenced 
thus: — 

The Story Told by the Jewish Physician 

The most wonderful of the events that happened to me in my 
younger days was this : — I was residing in Damascus, where I learnt 
and practised my art; and while I was thus occupied, one day there 
came to me a memluk from the house of the governor of the city: 
so I went forth with him, and accompanied him to the abode of the 
governor. I entered, and beheld, at the upper end of a saloon, a 
couch of alabaster overlaid with plates of gold, upon which was 
reclining a sick man: he was young; and a person more comely had 
not been seen in his age. Seating myself at his head, I ejaculated a 
prayer for his restoration; and he made a sign to me with his eye. 
I then said to him, O my master, stretch forth to me thy hand: — 
whereupon he put forth to me his left hand; and I was surprised at 


this, and said within myself, What self-conceit! I felt his pulse, how- 
ever, and wrote a prescription for him, and continued to visit him 
for a period of ten days, until he recovered his strength; when he 
entered the bath, and washed himself, and came forth: and the 
governor conferred upon me a handsome dress of honour, and 
appointed me superintendent of the hospital of Damascus. But when 
I went with him into the bath, which they had cleared of all other 
visitors for us alone, and the servants had brought the clothes, and 
taken away those which he had pulled off within, I perceived that 
his right hand had been cruelly amputated; at the sight of which I 
wondered, and grieved for him; and looking at his skin, I observed 
upon him marks of beating with mikr'ahs, which caused me to 
wonder more. The young man then turned towards me, and said, 
O doctor of the age, wonder not at my case; for I will relate to thee 
my story when we have gone out from the bath: — and when we 
had gone forth, and arrived at the house, and had eaten some food, 
and rested, he said to me. Hast thou a desire to divert thyself in the 
supper-room? I answered. Yes: — and immediately he ordered the 
slaves to take up thither the furniture, and to roast a lamb and bring 
us some fruit. So the slaves did as he commanded them : and when 
they had brought the fruit, and we had eaten, I said to him, Relate 
to me thy story : — and he replied, O doctor of the age, listen to the 
relation of the events which have befallen me. 

Know that I am of the children of El-Mosil. My paternal grand- 
father died leaving ten male children, one of whom was my father: 
he was the eldest of them, and they all grew up and married; and 
my father was blest with me; but none of his nine brothers was 
blest with children. So I grew up among my uncles, who delighted 
in me exceedingly; and when I had attained to manhood, I was one 
day with my father in the chief mosque of El-Mosil. The day was 
Friday; and we performed the congregational prayers, and all the 
people went out, except my father and my uncles, who sat conversing 
together respecting the wonders of various countries, and the strange 
sights of different cities, until they mentioned Egypt; when one of 
my uncles said, The travellers assert, that there is not on the face of 
the earth a more agreeable country than Egypt with its Nile: — and 
my father added, He who hath not seen Cairo hath not seen the 


world: its soil is gold; its Nile is a wonder; its women are like the 
black-eyed virgins of Paradise; its houses are palaces; and its air is 
temperate; its odour surpassing that of aloes- wood, and cheering the 
heart : and how can Cairo be otherwise when it is the metropolis of 
the world? Did ye see its gardens in the evening (he continued), 
with the shade obliquely extending over them, ye would behold a 
wonder, and yield with ecstasy to their attractions. 

When I heard these descriptions of Egypt, my mind became 
wholly engaged by reflections upon that country; and after they had 
departed to their homes, I passed the night sleepless from my ex- 
cessive longing towards it, and neither food nor drink was pleasant 
to me. A few days after, my uncles prepared to journey thither, and 
I wept before my father that I might go with them, so that he pre- 
pared a stock of merchandise for me, and I departed in their com- 
pany; but he said to them. Suffer him not to enter Egypt, but leave 
him at Damascus, that he may there sell his merchandise. 

I took leave of my father, and we set forth from El-Mosil, and 
continued our journey until we arrived at Aleppo, where we re- 
mained some days; after which we proceeded thence until we came 
to Damascus; and we beheld it to be a city with trees and rivers and 
fruits and birds, as though it were a paradise, containing fruits of 
every kind. We took lodgings in one of the Khans, and my uncles 
remained there until they had sold and bought; and they also sold 
my merchandise, gaining, for every piece of silver, five, so that I 
rejoiced at my profit. My uncles then left me, and repaired to 
Egypt, and I remained and took up my abode in a handsome Ka'ah, 
such as the tongue cannot describe; the monthly rent of which was 
two pieces of gold. 

Here I indulged myself with eating and drinking, squandering 
away the money that was in my possession; and as I was sitting one 
day at the door of the Ka'ah, a damsel approached me, attired in 
clothing of the richest description, such as I had never seen surpassed 
in costliness, and I invited her to come in; whereupon, without 
hesitation, she entered; and I was delighted at her compHance, and 
closed the door upon us both. She then uncovered her face, and took 
off her izar, and I found her to be so surprisingly beautiful that 
love for her took possession of my heart: so I went and brought a 


repast consisting of the most delicious viands and fruit and every- 
thing else that was requisite for her entertainment, and we ate 
and sported together; after which we drank till we were intoxicated, 
and fell asleep, and so we remained until the morning, when I 
handed her ten pieces of gold; but she swore that she would not 
accept them from me, and said, Expect me again, O my beloved, 
after three days: at the hour of sunset I will be with thee: and do 
thou prepare for us, with these pieces of gold, a repast similar to 
this which we have just enjoyed. She then gave me ten pieces of 
gold, and took leave of me, and departed, taking my reason with 
her. And after the three days had expired, she came again, decked 
with embroidered stuffs and ornaments and other attire more mag- 
nificent than those which she wore on the former occasion. I had 
prepared for her what was required previously to her arrival; so 
we now ate and drank and fell asleep as before; and in the morning 
she gave me again ten pieces of gold, promising to return to me after 
three more days. I therefore made ready what was requisite, and 
after the three days she came attired in a dress still more magnificent 
than the first and second, and said to me, O my master, am I 
beautiful? — Yea, verily, I answered. — ^Wilt thou give me leave, she 
rejoined, to bring with me a damsel more beautiful than myself, and 
younger than I, that she may sport with us, and we may make 
merry with her? For she hath requested that she may accompany 
me, and pass the night in frolicking with us. — And so saying, she 
gave me twenty pieces of gold, desiring me to prepare a more plenti- 
ful repast, on account of the lady who was to come with her; after 
which, she bade me farewell, and departed. 

Accordingly, on the fourth day, I procured what was requisite, as 
usual, and soon after sunset she came, accompanied by a female 
wrapped in an izar, and they entered, and seated themselves. I was 
rejoiced, and lighted the candles, and welcomed them with joy and 
exultation. They then took off their outer garments, and when the 
new damsel uncovered her face, I perceived that she was like the full 
moon : I never beheld a person more beautiful. I arose immediately, 
and placed before them the food and drink, and we ate and drank, 
while I continued caressing the new damsel, and filling the wine-cup 
for her, and drinking with her : but the first lady was affected with a 


secret jealousy.— By Allah, she said, verily this girl is beautiful! Is 
she not more charming than I? — Yea, indeed, I answered. — Soon 
after this I fell asleep, and when I awoke in the morning, I found my 
hand defiled with blood, and opening my eyes, perceived that the 
sun had risen; so I attempted to rouse the damsel, my new com- 
panion, whereupon her head rolled from her body. The other 
damsel was gone, and I concluded, therefore, that she had done 
this from her jealousy; and after reflecting a while, I arose, and 
took off my clothes, and dug a hole in the Ka'ah, in which I de- 
posited the murdered damsel, afterwards covering her remains with 
earth, and replacing the marble pavement as it was before. I then 
dressed myself again, and, taking the remainder of my money, 
went forth, and repaired to the owner of the Ka'ah, and paid him 
a year's rent, saying to him, I am about to journey to my uncles in 

So I departed to Egypt, where I met with my uncles, and they 
were rejoiced to see me. I found that they had concluded the sale 
of their merchandise, and they said to me, What is the cause of thy 
coming? I answered, I had a longing desire to be with you, and 
feared that my money would not suffice me. — For a year I remained 
with them, enjoying the pleasures of Egypt and its Nile; and I 
dipped my hand into the residue of my money, and expended it 
prodigally in eating and drinking until near the time of my uncles' 
departure, when I fled from them: so they said. Probably he hath 
gone before us and returned to Damascus: — and they departed. I 
then came forth from my concealment, and remained in Cairo three 
years, squandering away my money until scarcely any of it re- 
mained: but meanwhile I sent every year the rent of the Ka'ah at 
Damascus to its owner: and after the three years my heart became 
contracted, for nothing remained in my possession but the rent for 
the year. 

I therefore journeyed back to Damascus, and alighted at the Ka'ah. 
The owner was rejoiced to see me, and I entered it, and cleansed 
it of the blood of the murdered damsel, and, removing a cushion, I 
found, beneath this, the necklace that she had worn that night. I 
took it up and examined it, and wept a while. After this I remained 
in the house two days, and on the third day I entered the bath, and 


changed my clothes. I now had no money left; and I went one day 
to the market, where (the Devil suggesting it to me, in order to 
accomphsh the purpose o£ destiny) I handed the necklace of jewels 
to a broker; and he rose to me, and seated me by his side: then 
having waited until the market was replenished, he took it, and 
announced it for sale secretly, without my knowledge. The price 
bidden for it amounted to two thousand pieces of gold; but he 
came to me and said, This necklace is of brass, of the counterfeit 
manufacture of the Franks, and its price hath amounted to a thou- 
sand pieces of silver. I answered him. Yes: we had made it for a 
woman, merely to laugh at her, and my wife has inherited it, and 
we desire to sell it: go, therefore, and receive the thousand pieces 
of silver. Now when the broker heard this, he perceived that the 
aflFair was suspicious, and went and gave the necklace to the chief 
of the market, who took it to the Wali, and said to him. This neck- 
lace was stolen from me, and we have found the thief, clad in the 
dress of the sons of the merchants. And before I knew what had 
happened, the officers had surrounded me, and they took me to the 
Wali, who questioned me respecting the necklace. I told him, there- 
fore, the same story that I had told to the broker; but he laughed, 
and said. This is not the truth: — and instantly his people stripped me 
of my outer clothing, and beat me with mikra'ahs all over my body, 
until, through the torture that I suffered from the blows, I said, I 
stole it: — reflecting that it was better I should say I stole it, than 
confess that its owner was murdered in my abode; for then they 
would kill me to avenge her: and as soon as I had said so, they 
cut off my hand, and scalded the stump with boiling oil, and I 
swooned away. They then gave me to drink some wine, by swallow- 
ing which I recovered my senses; and I took my amputated hand, 
and returned to the Ka'ah; but its owner said to me. Since this hath 
happened to thee, leave the Ka'ah, and look for another abode; for 
thou art accused of an unlawful act. — O my master, I replied, give 
me two or three days' delay that I may seek for a lodging: — and he 
assented to this and departed and left me. So I remained alone, and 
sat weeping, and saying, How can I return to my family with my 
hand cut off. He who cut it off knoweth not that I am innocent: 
perhaps, then, God will bring about some event for my relief. 


I sat weeping violently; and when the owner o£ the Ka'ah had 
departed from me, excessive grief overcame me, and I was sick for 
two days; and on the third day, suddenly the owner of the Ka'ah 
came to me, with some officers of the police, and the chief of the 
market, and accused me again of stealing the necklace. So I went 
out to them, and said. What is the news? — whereupon, without 
granting me a moment's delay, they bound my arms behind me, and 
put a chain around my neck, saying to me. The necklace which was 
in thy possession hath proved to be the property of the governor of 
Damascus, its Wezir and its Ruler; it hath been lost from the gover- 
nor's house for a period of three years, and with it was his daughter. 
— When I heard these words from them, my limbs trembled, and I 
said within myself. They will kill me! My death is inevitable! By 
Allah, I must relate my story to the governor; and if he please he 
will kill me, or if he please he will pardon me. — And when we 
arrived at the governor's abode, and they had placed me before him, 
and he beheld me, he said. Is this he who stole the necklace and went 
out to sell it? Verily ye have cut off his hand wrongfully. — He then 
ordered that the chief of the market should be imprisoned, and said 
to him. Give to this person the compensatory fine for his hand, or I 
will hang thee and seize all thy property. And he called out to his 
attendants, who took him and dragged him away. 

I was now left with the governor alone, after they had, by his 
permission, loosed the chain from my neck, and untied the cords 
which bound my arms; and the governor looking towards me, said 
to me, O my son, tell me thy story, and speak truth. How did this 
necklace come into thy possession ? — So I replied, O my lord, I will 
tell thee the truth: — and I related to him all that had happened to 
me with the first damsel, and how she had brought to me the second, 
and murdered her from jealousy; on hearing which, he shook his 
head, and covered his face with his handkerchief, and wept. Then 
looking towards me, he said. Know, O my son, that the elder damsel 
was my daughter: I kept her closely; and when she had attained a 
fit age for marriage, I sent her to the son of her uncle in Cairo; but 
he died, and she returned to me, having learnt habits of profligacy 
from the inhabitants of that city; so she visited thee four times; and 
on the fourth occasion, she brought to thee her younger sister. They 


were sisters by the same mother, and much attached to each other; 
and when the event which thou hast related occurred to the elder, 
she imparted her secret to her sister, who asked my permission to go 
out with her; after which the elder returned alone; and when I 
questioned her respecting her sister, I found her weeping for her, 
and she answered, I know no tidings of her: — ^but she afterwards 
informed her mother, secretly, of the murder which she had com- 
mitted; and her mother privately related the affair to me; and she 
continued to weep for her incessantly, saying, By Allah, I will not 
cease to weep for her until I die. Thy account, O my son, is true; 
for I knew the affair before thou toldest it me. See then, O my son, 
what hath happened: and now I request of thee that thou wilt not 
oppose me in that which I am about to say; and it is this: — I desire 
to marry thee to my youngest daughter; for she is not of the same 
mother as they were: she is a virgin, and I will receive from thee 
no dowry, but will assign to you both an allowance; and thou shalt 
be to me as an own son. — I replied. Let it be as thou desirest, O my 
master. How could I expect to attain unto such happiness? — The 
governor then sent immediately a courier to bring the property which 
my father had left me (for he had died since my departure from 
him), and now I am Hving in the utmost affluence. 

I wondered, said the Jew, at his history; and after I had remained 
with him three days, he gave me a large sum of money; and I left 
him, to set forth on a journey; and, arriving in this your country, 
my residence here pleased me, and I experienced this which hath 
happened to me with the humpback. 

The King, when he had heard this story, said. This is not more 
wonderful than the story of the humpback, and ye must all of you 
be hanged, and especially the tailor, who is the source of all the 
mischief. But he afterwards added, O tailor, if thou tell me a story 
more wonderful than that of the humpback, I will forgive you your 
offences. So the tailor advanced, and said, — 

The Story Told by the Tailor 

Know, O King of the age, that what hath happened to me is more 
wonderful than the events which have happened to all the others. 


Before I met the humpback, I was, early in the morning, at an enter- 
tainment given to certain tradesmen of my acquaintance, consisting 
of tailors and linen-drapers and carpenters and others; and when the 
sun had risen, the repast was brought for us to eat; and lo, the 
master of the house came in to us, accompanied by a strange and 
handsome young man, of the inhabitants of Baghdad. He was attired 
in clothes of the handsomest description, and was a most comely 
person, except that he was lame; and as soon as he had entered and 
saluted us, we rose to him; but when he was about to seat himself, 
he observed among us a man who was a barber, whereupon he 
refused to sit down, and desired to depart from us. We and the 
master of the house, however, prevented him, and urged him to seat 
himself; and the host conjured him, saying, What is the reason of 
thy entering, and then immediately departing? — By Allah, O my 
master, replied he, offer me no opposition; for the cause of my 
departure is this barber, who is sitting with you. And when the 
host heard this, he was exceedingly surprised, and said. How is it 
that the heart of this young man, who is from Baghdad, is troubled 
by the presence of this barber? We then looked towards him, and 
said. Relate to us the cause of thy displeasure against this barber; 
and the young man replied, O company, a surprising adventure 
happened to me with this barber in Baghdad, my city; and he was 
the cause of my lameness, and of the breaking of my leg; and I 
have sworn that I will not sit in any place where he is present, nor 
dwell in any town where he resides: I quitted Baghdad and took up 
my abode in this city, and I will not pass the next night without 
departing from it. — Upon this, we said to him. We conjure thee, by 
Allah, to relate to us thy adventure with him. — And the counte- 
nance of the barber turned pale when he heard us make this request. 
The young man then said, — 

Know, O good people, that my father was one of the chief 
merchants of Baghdad; and God (whose name be exalted!) blessed 
him with no son but myself; and when I grew up, and had attained 
to manhood, my father was admitted to the mercy of God, leaving 
me wealth and servants and other dependants; whereupon I began 
to attire myself in clothes of the handsomest description, and to feed 
upon the most delicious meats. Now God (whose perfection be 


extolled!) made me to be a hater o£ women; and so I continued, 
until, one day, I was walking through the streets o£ Baghdad, when a 
party of them stopped my way: I therefore fled from them, and, 
entering a by-street which was not a thoroughfare, I reclined upon a 
mastabah at its further extremity. Here I had been seated but a 
short time when, lo, a window opposite the place where I sat was 
opened, and there looked out from it a damsel like the full moon, 
such as I had never in my life beheld. She had some flowers, which 
she was watering, beneath the window; and she looked to the right 
and left, and then shut the window, and disappeared from before 
me. Fire had been shot into my heart, and my mind was absorbed 
by her; my hatred of women was turned into love, and I continued 
sitting in the same place until sunset, in a state of distraction from 
the violence of my passion, when, lo, the Kadi of the city came 
riding along, with slaves before him and servants behind him, and 
alighted, and entered the house from which the damsel had looked 
out: so I knew that he must be her father. 

I then returned to my house, sorrowful and fell upon my bed, full 
of anxious thoughts; and my female slaves came in to me, and 
seated themselves around me, not knowing what was the matter 
with me; and I acquainted them not with my case, nor returned any 
answers to their questions; and my disorder increased. The neigh- 
bours, therefore, came to cheer me with their visits; and among those 
who visited me was an old woman, who, as soon as she saw me, 
discovered my state; whereupon she seated herself at my head, and, 
addressing me in a kind manner, said, O my son, tell me what hath 
happened to thee ? So I related to her my story, and she said, O my 
son, this is the daughter of the Kadi of Baghdad, and she is kept in 
close confinement: the place where thou sawest her is her apart- 
ment, and her father occupies a large saloon below, leaving her 
alone; and often do I visit her: thou canst obtain an interview with 
her only through me: so brace up thy nerves. When I heard, there- 
fore, what she said, I took courage, and fortified my heart; and my 
family rejoiced that day. I rose up firm in limb, and hoping for 
complete restoration; and the old woman departed; but she re- 
turned with her countenance changed, and said, O my son, ask not 
what she did when I told her of thy case; for she said. If thou 


abstain not, O ill-omened old woman, from this discourse, I 
will treat thee as thou deservest: — ^but I must go to her a second 

On hearing this, my disorder increased : after some days, however, 
the old woman came again, and said, O my son, I desire of thee a 
reward for good tidings. My soul returned to my body at these 
words, and I replied. Thou shalt receive from me everything that 
thou canst wish. She then said, I went yesterday to the damsel, and 
when she beheld me with broken heart and weeping eye, she said 
to me, O my aunt, wherefore do I see thee with contracted heart ? — 
and when she had thus said, I wept, and answered, O my daughter 
and mistress, I came to thee yesterday from visiting a youth who 
loveth thee, and he is at the point of death on thy account: — and, 
her heart being moved with compassion, she asked. Who is this 
youth of whom thou speakest? I answered. He is my son, and the 
child that is dear to my soul : he saw thee at the window some days 
ago, while thou wast watering thy flowers: and when he beheld 
thy face, he became distracted with love for thee: I informed him of 
the conversation that I had with thee the first time; upon which his 
disorder increased, and he took to his pillow: he is now dying, 
and there is no doubt of his fate. — And upon this, her countenance 
became pale and she said. Is this all on my account ?^Yea, by Allah, 
I answered; and what dost thou order me to do? — Go to him, said 
she; convey to him my salutation, and tell him that my love is 
greater than his; and on Friday next, before the congregation prayers, 
let him come hither : I will give orders to open the door to him, and 
to bring him up to me, and I will have a short interview with him, 
and he shall return before my father comes back from the prayers. 

When I heard these words of the old woman, the anguish which 
I had suffered ceased; my heart was set at rest, and I gave her the 
suit of clothes which I was then wearing, and she departed, saying 
to me. Cheer up thy heart. I replied, I have no longer any pain. The 
people of my house, and my friends, communicated, one to another, 
the good news of my restoration to health, and I remained thus until 
the Friday, when the old woman came in to me, and asked me 
respecting my state; so I informed her that I was happy and well. 
I then dressed and perfumed myself, and sat waiting for the people 
to go to prayers, that I might repair to the damsel; but the old 


woman said to me, Thou hast yet more than ample time, and if 
thou go to the bath and shave, especially for the sake of obliterating 
the traces of thy disorder, it will be more becoming. — It is a judicious 
piece of advice, replied I; but I will shave my head first, and then go 
into the bath. 

So I sent for a barber to shave my head, saying to the boy. Go to 
the market, and bring me a barber, one who is a man of sense, little 
inclined to impertinence, that he may not make my head ache by his 
chattering. And the boy went, and brought this sheykh, who, on 
entering, saluted me; and when I returned his salutation, he said to 
me. May God dispel thy grief and thine anxiety, and misfortunes 
and sorrows! I responded. May God accept thy prayer! He then 
said. Be cheerful, O my master; for health hath returned to thee. 
Dost thou desire to be shaved or to be bled ? — for it hath been handed 
down, on the authority of Ibn-' Abbas" that the Prophet said. Whoso 
shorteneth his hair on Friday, God will avert from him seventy 
diseases; — and it hath been handed down also, on the same author- 
ity, that the Prophet said. Whoso is cupped on Friday will not be 
secure from the loss of sight and from frequent disease. — Abstain, 
said I, from this useless discourse, and come immediately, shave my 
head for I am weak. And he arose, and, stretching forth his hand, 
took out a handkerchief, and opened it; and lo, there was in it an 
astrolabe, consisting of seven plates; and he took it, and went into 
the middle of the court, where he raised his head towards the sun, 
and looked for a considerable time; after which he said to me, 
Know that there have passed, of this our day, — which is Friday, and 
which is the tenth of Safar, of the year 263 of the Flight of the 
Prophet, — upon whom be the most excellent of blessings and peace! 
— and the ascendant star of which, according to the required rules 
of the science of computation, is the planet Mars, — seven degrees and 
six minutes; and it happeneth that Mercury hath come in conjunc- 
tion with that planet; and this indicateth that the shaving of hair 
is now a most excellent operation : and it hath indicated to me, also, 
that thou desirest to confer a benefit upon a person : and fortunate 
is he!— but after that, there Is an announcement that presenteth itself 
to me respecting a matter which I will not mention to thee. 

" One of the most learned of the companions of his cousin Mohammad, and one 
of the most celebrated of the relators of his sayings and actions. 


By Allah, I exclaimed, thou hast wearied me, and dissipated my 
mind, and augured against me, when I required thee only to shave 
my head: arise, then, and shave it; and prolong not thy discourse 
to me. But he replied. By Allah, if thou knewest the truth of the 
case, thou wouldst demand of me a further explication; and I counsel 
thee to do this day as I direct thee, according to the calculations 
deduced from the stars: it is thy duty to praise God, and not to 
oppose me; for I am one who giveth thee good advice, and who 
regardeth thee with compassion: I would that I were in thy service 
for a whole year, that thou mightest do me justice; and I desire 
not any pay from thee for so doing. — When I heard this, I said to him, 
Verily thou art killing me this day, and there is no escape for me. — 
O my master, he replied, I am he whom the people call Es-Samit, 
["the Silent,"] on account of the paucity of my speech, by which I 
am distinguished above my brothers : for my eldest brother is named 
El-Bakbuk; and the second, El-Heddar; and the third, Bakbak^^; 
and the fourth is named El-Kuz el-Aswani; and the fifth, El- 
Feshshar; and the sixth is named Shakalik; and the seventh brother 
is named Es-Samit; and he is myself. 

Now when this barber thus overwhelmed me with his talk, I felt 
as if my gall-bladder had burst, and said to the boy. Give him a 
quarter of a piece of gold and let him depart from me for the sake 
of Allah: for I have no need to shave my head. But the barber on 
hearing what I said to the boy, exclaimed. What is this that thou 
hast said, O my lord? By Allah, I will accept from thee no pay 
unless I serve thee; and serve thee I must; for to do so is incumbent 
on me, and to perform what thou requirest; and I care not if I 
receive from thee no money. If thou knowest not my worth, I 
know thine; and thy father — may Allah have mercy upon him! — 
treated us with beneficence; for he was a man of generosity. By 
Allah, thy father sent for me one day, like this blessed day, and 
when I went to him, he had a number of his friends with him, and 
he said to me, Take some blood from me. So I took the astrolabe, 
and observed the altitude for him, and found the ascendant of the 
hour to be of evil omen, and that the letting of blood would be 
attended with trouble: I therefore acquainted him with this, and he 

^^All three names signify "Chatterer." 


conformed to my wish, and waited until the arrival of the approved 
hour, when I took the blood from him. He did not oppose me; 
but, on the contrary, thanked me; and in like manner all the many 
present thanked me; and thy father gave me a hundred pieces of 
gold for services similar to the letting of blood. — May God, said I, 
shew no mercy to my father for knowing such a man as thou! — and 
the barber laughed, and exclaimed. There is no deity but God! 
Mohammad is God's Apostle! Extolled be the perfection of Him 
who changeth others, but is not changed! I did not imagine thee to 
be otherwise than a man of sense; but thou hast talked nonsense in 
consequence of thine illness. God hath mentioned, in his Excellent 
Book, those who restrain their anger, and who forgive men: — but 
thou art excused in every case. I am unacquainted, however, with 
the cause of thy haste; and thou knowest that thy father used to do 
nothing without consulting me; and it hath been said, that the 
person to whom one applies for advice should be trusted : now thou 
wilt find no one better acquainted with the affairs of the world than 
myself, and I am standing on my feet to serve thee. I am not dis- 
pleased with thee, and how then art thou displeased with me? But 
I will have patience with thee on account of the favours which I 
have received from thy father. — By Allah, said I, thou hast wearied 
me with thy discourse, and overcome me with thy speech! I desire 
that thou shave my head and depart from me. 

I gave vent to my rage; and would have risen, even if he had 
wetted my head, when he said, I knew that displeasure with me had 
overcome thee; but I will not be angry with thee, for thy sense is 
weak, and thou art a youth : a short time ago I used to carry thee on 
my shoulder, and take thee to the school.— Upon this, I said to him, 
O my brother, I conjure thee by Allah, depart from me that I may 
perform my business, and go thou thy way. Then I rent my clothes; 
and when he saw me do this, he took the razor, and sharpened it, 
and continued to do so until my soul almost parted from my body; 
then advancing to my head, he shaved a small portion of it; after 
which he raised his hand, and said, O my lord, haste is from the 
Devil; — and he repeated this couplet: — 

Deliberate, and haste not to accomplish thy desire; and be merciful, so 
shalt thou meet with one merciful: 


For there is no hand but God's hand is above it; nor oppressor that shall 
not meet with an oppressor. 

O my lord (he then continued), I do not imagine that thou knowest 
my condition in society; for my hand lighteth upon the heads of 
kings and emirs and wezirs and sages and learned men; and of such 
a one as myself hath the poet said, — 

The trades altogether are like a necklace, and this barber is the chief 

pearl of the strings. 
He excelleth all that are endowed with skill, and under his hands are 

the heads of Kings. 

— Leave, said I, that which doth not concern thee! Thou hast con- 
tracted my heart, and troubled my mind. — I fancy that thou art in 
haste, he rejoined. I replied. Yes! Yes! Yes! — Proceed slowly, said 
he; for verily haste is from the Devil, and it giveth occasion to re- 
pentance and disappointment; and he upon whom be blessing and 
peace hath said. The best of affairs is that which is commenced with 
deliberation : — and, by Allah, I am in doubt as to thine affair : I wish, 
therefore, that thou wouldst make known to me what thou art 
hasting to do; and may it be good; for I fear it is otherwise. 

There now remained, to the appointed time, three hours; and he 
threw the razor from his hand in anger, and, taking the astrolabe, 
went again to observe the sun; then after he had waited a long 
time, he returned, saying. There remain, to the hour of prayer, three 
hours, neither more nor less. — For the sake of Allah, said I, be 
silent; for thou hast crumbled my liver! — and thereupon he took the 
razor, and sharpened it as he had done the first time, and shaved 
another portion of my head. Then stopping again, he said, I am 
in anxiety on account of thy hurry: if thou wouldst acquaint me 
with the cause of it, it would be better for thee; for thou knowest 
that thy father used to do nothing without consulting me. 

I perceived now that I could not avoid his importunity, and said 
within myself. The time of prayer is almost come, and I desire to 
go before the people come out from the service: if I delay a little 
longer, I know not how to gain admission to her. I therefore said to 
him, Be quick, and cease from this chattering and impertinence; 


for I desire to repair to an entertainment with my friends. But 
when he heard the mention of the entertainment, he exclaimed, 
The day is a blessed day for me! I yesterday conjured a party of my 
intimate friends to come and feast with me, and forgot to prepare 
for them anything to eat; and now I have rerpembered it. Alas 
for the disgrace that I shall experience from them! — So I said to him. 
Be in no anxiety on this account, since thou hast been told that I 
am going to-day to an entertainment; for all the food and drink that 
is in my house shall be thine if thou use expedition in my affair, 
and quickly finish shaving my head. — May God recompense thee 
with every blessing! he replied: describe to me what thou hast for 
my guests, that I may know it.— I have, said I, five dishes of meat, 
and ten fowls fricandoed, and a roasted lamb. — Cause them to be 
brought before me, he said, that I may see them. So I had them 
brought to him, and he exclaimed. Divinely art thou gifted! How 
generous is thy soul; But the incense and perfumes are wanting. — 
I brought him, therefore, a box containing nedd^^ and aloes-wood 
and ambergris and musk, worth fifty pieces of gold. — The time 
had now become contracted, like my own heart; so I said to him. 
Receive this, and shave the whole of my head, by the existence of 
Mohammad, God bless and save him! But he replied. By Allah, I 
will not take it until I see all that it contains. I therefore ordered 
the boy, and he opened the box to him; whereupon the barber threw 
down the astrolabe from his hand, and seating himself upon the 
ground, turned over the perfumes and incense and aloes-wood in 
the box until my soul almost quitted my body. 

He then advanced, and took the razor, and shaved another small 
portion of my head; after which he said. By Allah, O my son, I 
know not whether I should thank thee or thank thy father; for my 
entertainment to-day is entirely derived from thy bounty and kind- 
ness, and I have no one among my visitors deserving of it; for my 
guests are Zeytun the bath-keeper, and Sali' the wheat-seller, and 
*Awkal the bean-seller, and*Akresheh the grocer, and Homeyd the 
dustman, and 'Akarish the milk-seller, and each of these hath a 
peculiar dance which he performeth, and peculiar verses which he 
reciteth; and the best of their qualities is, that they are like thy 

^^A perfume composed of ambergris, musk, and aloes-wood; or simply ambergris. 


servant, the memluk who is before thee; and I, thy slave, knov^ 
neither loquacity nor impertinence. As to the bath-keeper, he saith. 
If I go not to the feast, it cometh to my house! — and as to the dust- 
man, he is w^itty, and full of frolic: often doth he dance, and say. 
News, with my wife, is not kept in a chest! — and each of my friends 
hath jests that another hath not: but the description is not like the 
actual observation. If thou choose, therefore, to come to us, it will 
be more pleasant both to thee and to us: relinquish, then, thy visit 
to thy friends of whom thou hast told us that thou desirest to go to 
them: for the traces of disease are yet upon thee, and probably thou 
art going to a people of many words, who will talk of that which 
concerneth them not; or probably there will be among them one 
impertinent person; and thy soul is already disquieted by disease. — 
I replied, If it be the will of God, that shall be on some other day: 
— but he said, It will be more proper that thou first join my party 
of friends, that thou may est enjoy their conviviality, and deUght 
thyself with their salt. Act in accordance with the saying of the 
poet: — 

Defer not a pleasure when it can be had; for fortune often destroy eth 
our plans. 

Upon this I laughed from a heart laden with anger, and said to 
him. Do what I require, that I may go in the care of God, whose 
name be exalted! and do thou go to thy friends, for they are awaiting 
thine arrival. He replied, I desire nothing but to introduce thee 
into the society of these people; for verily they are of the sons of 
that class among which is no impertinent person; and if thou didst 
but behold them once, thou wouldst leave all thine own companions. 
— May God, said I, give thee abundant joy with them, and I must 
bring them together here some day. — If that be thy wish, he rejoined, 
and thou wilt first attend the entertainment of thy friends this day, 
wait until I take this present with which thou hast honoured me, 
and place it before my friends, that they may eat and drink without 
waiting for me, and then I will return to thee, and go with thee to 
thy companions; for there is no false delicacy between me and my 
companions that should prevent my leaving them; so I will return 
to thee quickly, and repair with thee whithersoever thou goest.— 


Upon this I exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God, 
the High, the Great! Go thou to thy companions, and dehght thy 
heart with them, and leave me to repair to mine, and to remain with 
them this day, for they are waiting my arrival. — But he said, I will 
not leave thee to go alone. — ^The place to which I am going, said I, 
none can enter except myself. — I suppose then, he rejoined, that thou 
hast an appointment to-day with some female: otherwise, thou 
wouldst take me with thee; for I am more deserving than all other 
men, and will assist thee to attain what thou desirest. I fear that 
thou art going to visit some strange woman, and that thy life will 
be lost; for in this city of Baghdad no one can do anything of this 
kind, especially on such a day as this; seeing that the Wali of 
Baghdad is a terrible, sharp sword. — Wo to thee, O wicked old 
man! I exclaimed, what are these words with which thou addressest 
me! — ^And upon this, he kept a long silence. 

The time of prayer had now arrived, and the time of the Khut- 
beh" was near, when he had finished shaving my head: So I said 
to him. Go with this food and drink to thy friends, and I will wait 
for thee until thou return, and thou shalt accompany me: — and I 
continued my endeavours to deceive him; that he might go away; 
but he said to me, Verily thou art deceiving me, and wilt go alone, 
and precipitate thyself into a calamity from which there will be no 
escape for thee; by Allah! by Allah! then quit not this spot until I 
return to thee, and accompany thee, that I may know what will be 
the result of thine affair. — I replied. Well: prolong not thine absence 
from me. And he took the food and drink and other things which 
I had given him, but intrusted them to a porter to convey them to 
his abode, and concealed himself in one of the by-streets. I then 
immediately arose. The mueddins on the menarehs had chanted the 
Selam of Friday; and I put on my clothes, and went forth alone, 
and, arriving at the by-street, stopped at the door of the house where 
I had seen the damsel: and lo, the barber was behind me, and I 
knew it not. I found the door open, and entered; and immediately 
the master of the house returned from the prayers, and entered the 
saloon, and closed the door; and I said within myself, How did this 
devil discover me ? 

^* Friday sermon. 


Now it happened, just at this time, for the fulfilment of God's pur- 
pose to rend the veil of protection before me, that a female slave 
belonging to the master of the house committed some oflFence, in con- 
sequence of which he beat her, and she cried out; whereupon a male 
slave came in to him to liberate her; but he beat him also, and he 
likewise cried out; and the barber concluded that he was beating 
me; so he cried, and rent his clothes, and sprinkled dust upon his 
head, shrieking, and calling for assistance. He was surrounded by 
people, and said to them, My master hath been killed in the house 
of the Kadi! Then running to my house, crying out all the while, 
and with a crowd behind him, he gave the news to my family; and 
I knew not what he had done when they approached, crying, Alas 
for our master! — the barber all the while being before them, with 
his clothes rent, and a number of the people of the city with them. 
They continued shrieking, the barber shrieking at their head, and 
all of them exclaiming, Alas for our slain! — Thus they advanced to 
the house in which I was confined; and when the Kadi heard of 
this occurrence, the event troubled him, and he arose, and opened 
the door, and seeing a great crowd, he was confounded, and said, O 
people, what is the news ? 

The servants replied, Thou hast killed our master. — O people, 
rejoined he, what hath your master done unto me that I should kill 
him; and wherefore do I see this barber before you? — Thou hast 
just now beaten him with mikra'ahs, said the barber; and I heard 
his cries. — What hath he done that I should kill him? repeated the 
Kadi. And whence, he added, came he; and whither would he go? 
— Be not an old man of malevolence, exclaimed the barber; for I 
know the story, and the reason of his entering thy house, and the 
truth of the whole affair; thy daughter is in love with him, and he 
is in love with her; and thou hast discovered that he had entered 
thy house, and hast ordered thy young men, and they have beaten 
him. By Allah, none shall decide between us and thee except the 
Khalifeh; or thou shalt bring forth to us our master that his family 
may take him; and oblige me not to enter and take him forth from 
you : haste then thyself to produce him. 

Upon this, the Kadi was withheld from speaking, and became 
utterly abashed before the people: but presently he said to the 


barber, If thou speak truth, enter thyself, and bring him forth. So 
the barber advanced, and entered the house; and when I saw him 
do so, I sought for a way to escape; but I found no place of refuge 
except a large chest which I observed in the same apartment in 
which I then was; I therefore entered this, and shut down the lid, 
and held in my breath. Immediately after, the barber ran into the 
saloon, and, without looking in any other direction than that in 
which I had concealed myself, came thither : then turning his eyes to 
the right and left, and seeing nothing but the chest, he raised it upon 
his head; whereupon my reason forsook me. He quickly descended 
with it; and I, being now certain that he would not quit me, opened 
the chest, and threw myself upon the ground. My leg was broken 
by the fall; and when I came to the door of the house, I found a 
multitude of people: I had never seen such a crowd as was there 
collected on that day; so I began to scatter gold among them, to 
divert them; and while they were busied in picking it up, I hastened 
through the by-streets of Baghdad, followed by this barber; and 
wherever I entered, he entered after me, crying. They would have 
plunged me into affliction on account of my master! Praise be to 
God who aided me against them, and delivered my master from 
their hands! Thou continuedst, O my master, to be excited by 
haste for the accompUshment of thine evil design until thou 
broughtest upon thyself this event; and if God had not blessed thee 
with me, thou hadst not escaped from this calamity into which thou 
hast fallen; and they might have involved thee in a calamity from 
which thou wouldst never have escaped. Beg, therefore, of God, 
that I may live for thy sake, to liberate thee in future. By Allah, 
thou hast almost destroyed me by thine evil design, desiring to go 
alone; but we will not be angry with thee for thine ignorance, for 
thou art endowed with little sense and of a hasty disposition. — Art 
thou not satisfied, replied I, with that which thou hast done, but wilt 
thou run after me through the market-streets? — And I desired for 
death to liberate me from him; but found it not; and in the excess of 
my rage I ran from him, and, entering a shop in the midst of the 
market, implored the protection of its owner; and he drove away 
the barber from me. 
I then seated myself in a magazine belonging to him, and said 


within myself, I cannot now rid myself of this barber; but he will 
be with me night and day, and I cannot endure the sight of his face. 
So I immediately summoned witnesses, and wrote a document, divid- 
ing my property among my family, and appointing a guardian over 
them, and I ordered him to sell the house and all the immovable 
possessions, charging him with the care of the old and young, 
and set forth at once on a journey in order to escape from this wretch. 
I then arrived in your country, where I took up my abode, and have 
remained a considerable time; and when ye invited me, and I came 
unto you, I saw this vile wretch among you, seated at the upper end 
of the room. How, then, can my heart be at ease, or my sitting 
in your company be pleasant to me, with this fellow, who hath 
brought these events upon me, and been the cause of the breaking 
of my leg? 

The young man still persevered in his refusal to remain with us; 
and when we had heard his story, we said to the barber. Is this true 
which the young man hath said of thee? — By Allah, he answered, 
it was through my intelligence that I acted thus towards him; and 
had I not done so, he had perished : myself only was the cause of his 
escape; and it was through the goodness of God, by my means, that 
he was afflicted by the breaking of his leg instead of being punished 
by the loss of his life. Were I a person of many words, I had not 
done him this kindness; and now I will relate to you an event that 
happened to me, that ye may believe me to be a man of few words, 
and less of an impertinent than my brothers; and it was this: — 

The Barber's Story of Himself 

I WAS living in Baghdad, in the reign of the Prince of the Faithful 
El-Muntasir bi-llah,^^ who loved the poor and indigent, and asso- 
ciated with the learned and virtuous; and it happened, one day, 
that he was incensed against ten persons, in consequence of which, 
he ordered the chief magistrate of Baghdad to bring them to him in 
a boat. I saw them, and I said within myself. These persons have 
assembled for nothing but an entertainment, and, I suppose, will 
pass their day in this boat eating and drinking; and none shall be 

1^ Great-grandson of Harun Er-Rashid; acceded 86 1 a.d. 


their companion but myself: — so I embarked, and mixed myself 
among them; and when they had landed on the opposite bank, the 
guards of the Wali came with chains, and put them upon their necks, 
and put a chain upon my neck also. — Now this, O people, is it not 
a proof of my generosity, and of my paucity of speech? For I 
determined not to speak. — They took us, therefore, all together, in 
chains, and placed us before El-Muntasir bi-llah, the Prince of the 
Faithful; whereupon he gave orders to strike off the heads of the 
ten; and the executioner struck off the heads of the ten, and I 
remained. The Khalifeh then turning his eyes, and beholding me, 
said to the executioner. Wherefore dost thou not strike off the heads 
of all the ten? He answered, I have beheaded every one of the ten. 
—I do not think, rejoined the Khalifeh, that thou hast beheaded 
more than nine; and this who is before me is the tenth. But the 
executioner replied. By thy beneficence, they are ten. — Count them, 
said the Khalifeh. And they counted them; and lo, they were ten. 
The Khalifeh then looked towards me, and said. What hath induced 
thee to be silent on this occasion; and how hast thou become in- 
cluded among the men of blood? — And when I heard the address 
of the Prince of the Faithful, I said to him, O Prince of the Faithful, 
that I am the sheykh Es-Samit (the Silent) : I possess, of science, a 
large stock; and as to the gravity of my understanding, and the 
quickness of my apprehension, and the paucity of my speech, they 
are unbounded: my trade is that of a barber; and yesterday, early 
in the morning, I saw these ten men proceeding to the boat; where- 
upon I mixed myself with them, and embarked with them, thinking 
that they had met together for an entertainment; but soon it ap- 
peared that they were criminals; and the guards came to them, and 
put chains upon their necks, and upon my neck also they put a 
chain; and from the excess of my generosity I was silent, and spoke 
not: my speech was not heard on that occasion, on account of the 
excess of my generosity; and they proceeded with us until they 
stationed us before thee, and thou gavest the order to strike off the 
heads of the ten, and I remained before the executioner, and ac- 
quainted you not with my case. Was not this great generosity which 
compelled me to accompany them to slaughter ? But throughout my 
life I have acted in this excellent manner. 


When the KhaUfeh heard my words, and knew that I was of a 
very generous character, and of few words, and not incHned to 
impertinence as this young man, whom I deUvered from horrors, 
asserteth, he said, Hast thou brothers? I answered, Yes: six. — And 
are thy six brothers, said he, hke thyself, distinguished by science 
and knowledge, and paucity of speech ? I answered. They lived not 
so as to be like me: thou hast disparaged me by thy supposition, O 
Prince of the Faithful, and it is not proper that thou shouldst com- 
pare my brothers to me; for through the abundance of their speech, 
and the smallness of their generous quaUties, each of them experi- 
enced a defect: the first was lame; the second, deprived of many of 
his teeth; the third, blind; the fourth, one-eyed; the fifth, cropped 
of his ears; and the sixth had both his lips cut off: and think not, O 
Prince of the Faithful, that I am a man of many words: nay, I must 
prove to thee that I am of a more generous character than they; 
and each of them met with a particular adventure, in consequence 
of which he experienced a defect: if thou please, I will relate their 
stories to thee. 

The Barber's Story of His First Brother 

Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that the first (who was named 
El-Bakbuk) was the lame one. He practised the art of a tailor in 
Baghdad, and used to sew in a shop which he hired of a man 
possessing great wealth, who lived over the shop, and who had, in 
the lower part of his house, a mill. And as my lame brother was 
sitting in his shop one day, sewing, he raised his head, and saw 
a woman like the rising full moon, at a projecting window of the 
house, looking at the people passing by; and as soon as he beheld 
her, his heart was entangled by her love. He passed that day gazing 
at her, and neglecting his occupation, until the evening; and on the 
following morning he opened his shop, and sat down to sew; but 
every time that he sewed a stitch, he looked towards the window; 
and in this state he continued, sewing nothing sufficient to earn a 
piece of silver. 

On the third day he seated himself again in his place, looking 
towards the woman; and she saw him, and, perceiving that he had 

THE barber's first BROTHER 1 65 

become enslaved by her love, laughed in his face, and he, in like 
manner, laughed in her face. She then disappeared from before him, 
and sent to him her slave-girl, with a wrapper containing a piece of 
red flowered silk; and the girl, coming to him, said to him. My 
mistress saluteth thee, and desireth thee to cut out for her, with the 
hand of skill, a shirt of this piece, and to sew it beautifully. So he 
answered, I hear and obey: — and he cut out for her the shirt, and 
finished the sewing of it on that day; and on the following day the 
slave-girl came to him again, and said to him. My mistress saluteth 
thee, and saith to thee. How didst thou pass last night? — for she 
tasted not sleep, from her passion for thee. — She then placed before 
him a piece of yellow satin, and said to him. My mistress desireth 
thee to cut out for her, of this piece, two pairs of trousers, and to 
make them this day. He replied, I hear and obey. Salute her with 
abundant salutations, and say to her, Thy slave is submissive to thine 
order, and command him to do whatsoever thou wilt. — He then 
busied himself with the cutting out, and used all diligence in sewing 
the two pairs of trousers; and presently the woman looked out at 
him from the window, and saluted him by a sign, now casting down 
her eyes, and now smiling in his face, so that he imagined he should 
soon obtain possession of her. After this, she disappeared from be- 
fore him, and the slave-girl came to him; so he delivered to her the 
two pairs of trousers, and she took them and departed: and when 
the night came, he threw himself upon his bed, and remained turn- 
ing himself over in restlessness until the morning. 

On the following day, the master of the house came to my brother, 
bringing some linen, and said to him. Cut out and make this into 
shirts for me. He replied, I hear and obey: — and ceased not from 
his work until he had cut out twenty shirts by the time of nightfall, 
without having tasted food. The man then said to him. How much 
is thy hire for this? — but my brother answered not; and the damsel 
made a sign to him that he should receive nothing, though he was 
absolutely in want of a single copper coin. For three days he con- 
tinued scarcely eating or drinking anything, in his diligence to 
accomplish his work, and when he had finished it, he went to 
deliver the shirts. 

Now the young woman had acquainted her husband with the 


state of my brother's mind, but my brother knew not this; and she 
planned with her husband to employ him in sewing without re- 
muneration, and moreover to amuse themselves by laughing at him : 
so, when he had finished all the work that they gave him, they 
contrived a plot against him, and married him to their slave-girl; 
and on the night when he desired to introduce himself to her, they 
said to him. Pass this night in the mill, and to-morrow thou shalt 
enjoy happiness. My brother, therefore, thinking that their inten- 
tion was good, passed the night in the mill alone. Meanwhile, the 
husband of the young woman went to the miller, and instigated him 
by signs to make my brother turn the mill. The miller, accordingly, 
went in to him at midnight, and began to exclaim. Verily this bull 
is lazy, while there is a great quantity of wheat, and the owners of 
the flour are demanding it: I will therefore yoke him in the mill, 
that he may finish the grinding of the flour: — and so saying, he 
yoked my brother, and thus he kept him until near morning, when 
the owner of the house came, and saw him yoked in the mill, and 
the miller flogging him with the whip; and he left him, and retired. 
After this, the slave-girl to whom he had been contracted in mar- 
riage came to him early in the morning, and, having unbound him 
from the mill, said to him. Both I and my mistress have been dis- 
tressed by this which hath befallen thee, and we have participated 
in the burden of thy sorrow. But he had no tongue wherewith to 
answer her, by reason of the severity of the flogging. He then re- 
turned to his house; and lo, the sheykh who had performed the 
marriage-contract came and saluted him, saying. May God prolong 
thy life! May thy marriage be blessed! — May God not preserve the 
liar! returned my brother: thou thousandfold villain! By Allah, I 
went only to turn the mill in the place of the bull until the morning. 
— Tell me thy story, said the sheykh: — and my brother told him 
what had happened to him: upon which the sheykh said. Thy star 
agreeth not with hers: but if thou desire that I should change for 
thee the mode of the contract, I will change it for another better 
than it, that thy star may agree with hers. — See then, replied my 
brother, if thou hast any other contrivance to employ. 

My brother then left him, and repaired again to his shop, hoping 
that somebody might give him some work, with the profit of which 

THE barber's first BROTHER 167 

he might obtain his food; and lo, the slave-girl came to him. She 
had conspired with her mistress to play him this trick, and said to 
him, Verily, my mistress is longing for thee, and she hath gone up 
to look at thy face from the window. And my brother had scarcely 
heard these words when she looked out at him from the window, 
and, weeping, said. Wherefore hast thou cut short the intercourse 
between us and thee ? But he returned her no answer : so she swore 
to him that all that had happened to him in the mill was not with 
her consent : and when my brother beheld her beauty and loveliness, 
the troubles that had befallen him became effaced from his memory, 
and he accepted her excuse, and rejoiced at the sight of her. He 
saluted her, therefore, and conversed with her, and then sat a while 
at his work; after which the slave-girl came to him, and said. My 
mistress saluteth thee, and informeth thee that her husband hath 
determined to pass this next night in the house of one of his intimate 
friends; wherefore, when he hath gone thither, do thou come to 
her. — ^Now the husband of the young woman had said to her, How 
shall we contrive when he cometh to thee that I may take him and 
drag him before the Wali? She replied. Let me then play him a 
trick, and involve him in a disgrace for which he shall be paraded 
throughout this city as an example to others: — and my brother knew 
nothing of the craftiness of women. Accordingly, at the approach 
of evening, the slave-girl came to him, and, taking him by the hand, 
returned with him to her mistress, who said to him, Verily, O my 
master, I have been longing for thee. — Hasten then, said he, to give 
me a kiss, first of all. And his words were not finished when the 
young woman's husband came in from his neighbour's house, and, 
seizing my brother, exclaimed to him, By Allah, I will not loose thee 
but in the presence of the chief magistrate of the police. My brother 
humbled himself before him; but, without listening to him, he took 
him to the house of the Wali, who flogged him with whips, and 
mounted him upon a camel, and conveyed him through the streets 
of the city, the people crying out. This is the recompense of him who 
breaketh into the harims of others! — and he fell from the camel, and 
his leg broke: so he became lame. The Wali then banished him 
from the city; and he went forth, not knowing whither to turn his 
steps: but I, though enraged, overtook him, and brought him back; 


and I have taken upon myself to provide him with meat and drink 
unto the present day. 

The Khahfeh laughed at my story, and exclaimed, Thou hast 
spoken well: — ^but I replied, I will not accept this honour until thou 
hast listened to me while I relate to thee what happened to the rest 
of my brothers; and think me not a man of many words. — Tell me, 
said the Khalifeh, what happened to all thy brothers, and grace my 
ears with these nice particulars : I beg thee to employ exuberance of 
diction in thy relation of these pleasant tales. 

The Barber's Story of His Second Brother 

Sol said, Know, O Prince of the Faithful; that my second brother, 
•whose name was El-Heddar, was going one day to transact some 
business, when an old woman met him, and said to him, O man, 
stop a little, that I may propose to thee a thing, which, if it please 
thee, thou shalt do for me. My brother, therefore, stopped; and she 
said to him, I will guide thee to a thing, and rightly direct thee to it, 
on the condition that thy words be not many. So he said. Com- 
municate what thou hast to tell me: — and she proceeded thus: — 
What sayest thou of a handsome house, with running water, and 
fruit and wine, and a beautiful face to behold, and a smooth cheek 
to kiss, and an elegant form to embrace; and to enjoy all these 
pleasures without interruption? Now, if thou wilt act agreeably 
with the condition that I have imposed upon thee, thou wilt see 
prosperity. — When my brother had heard her words, he said to her, 
O my mistress, how is it that thou hast sought me out in preference 
to all the rest of the creation for this affair; and what is there in me 
that hath pleased thee ? She replied. Did I not say to thee that thou 
must not be a person of many words? Be silent then, and come 
with me. 

The old woman then went her way, my brother following her, 
eager to enjoy the pleasures which she had described to him, until 
they had entered a spacious house, when she went up with him to 
an upper story, and my brother perceived that he was in a beautiful 
palace, in which he beheld four damsels, than whom none more 
lovely had ever been seen, singing with voices that would charm a 

THE barber's second BROTHER 1 69 

heart as insensible as stone. One o£ these damsels drank a cup of 
wine; and my brother said to her, May it be attended with health 
and vigour! — and advanced to wait upon her; but she prevented 
his doing so, giving him to drink a cup o£ wine; and as soon as he 
had drunk it, she slapped him on his neck. When he found that 
she treated him thus, he went out from the chamber in anger, and 
with many words; but the old woman, following him, made a sign 
to him with her eye that he should return : so he returned, and seated 
himself, without speaking; and upon this, the damsel slapped him 
again upon the back of his neck until he became senseless; after 
which, recovering, he withdrew again. The old woman, however, 
overtook him, and said to him. Wait a little, and thou shalt attain 
thy wish. — How many times, said he, shall I wait a little before I 
attain it? The old woman answered. When she hath become ex- 
hilarated with wine thou shalt obtain her favour. He therefore 
returned to his place, and resumed his seat. All the four damsels 
then arose, and the old woman directed them to divest my brother 
of his outer clothes, and to sprinkle some rose-water upon his face; 
and when they had done so, the most beautiful one among them 
said to him. May Allah exalt thee to honour! Thou hast entered my 
abode, and if thou have patience to submit to my requisitions, thou 
wilt attain thy wish. — O my mistress, he repUed, I am thy slave, and 
under thy authority. — Know then, said she, that I am devotedly fond 
of frolic, and he who complieth with my demands will obtain my 
favour. Then she ordered the other damsels to sing; and they sang 
so that their hearers were in an ecstasy; after which the chief lady 
said to ofie of the other damsels. Take thy master, and do what is 
required, and bring him back to me immediately. 

Accordingly, she took him away, ignorant of that which she was 
about to do; and the old woman came to him, and said, Be patient; 
for there remaineth but little to do. He then turned towards the 
damsel, and the old woman said to him. Be patient: thou hast 
almost succeeded, and there remaineth but one thing, which is, to 
shave thy beard. — How, said he, shall I do that which will disgrace 
me among the people ? The old woman answered, She desireth this 
only to make thee like a beardless youth, that there may be nothing 
on thy face to prick her; for her heart is affected with a violent love 


for thee. Be patient, therefore, and thou shalt attain thy desire. — So 
my brother patiently submitted to the damsel's directions: his beard 
was shaven, and he was shorn also of his eyebrows and mustaches, 
and his face was painted red, before the damsel took him back to 
the chief lady, who, when she saw him, was at first frightened at 
him, and then laughed until she fell backwards, and exclaimed, O 
my master, thou hast gained me by these proofs of thine amiable 
manners! She then conjured him by her life to arise and dance; and 
he did so; and there was not a single cushion in the chamber that 
she did not throw at him. In like manner also the other damsels 
threw at him various things, such as oranges, and limes, and citrons, 
until he fell down senseless from the pelting, while they slapped him 
incessantly upon the back of his neck, and cast things in his face. 
But at length the old woman said to him. Now thou hast attained 
thy wish. Know that there remaineth to thee no more beating, nor 
doth there remain for thee to do more than one thing, namely, this : 
it is her custom, when she is under the influence of wine, to suffer 
no one to come near her until she hath taken off her outer clothes: 
thou, being prepared in the like manner, must run after her, and 
she will run before thee as though she were flying from thee; but 
cease not to follow her from place to place until thou overtake her. 
He arose, therefore, and did so : the lady ran before, and as he fol- 
lowed her, she passed from chamber to chamber, and he still ran 
after her. At last he heard her utter a slight sound as she ran before 
him, and, continuing his pursuit, he suddenly found himself in the 
midst of the street. 

This street was in the market of the leather-sellers, who were then 
crying skins for sale; and when the people there collected saw him 
in this condition, almost naked, with shaven beard and eyebrows 
and mustaches, and with his face painted red, they shouted at him, 
and raised a loud laugh, and some of them beat him with the skins 
until he became insensible. They then placed him upon an ass, and 
conducted him to the Wali, who exclaimed. What is this? — They 
answered. This descended upon us from the house of the Wezir, in 
this condition. And the Wali inflicted upon him a hundred lashes, 
and banished him from the city: but I went out after him, and 
brought him back privately into the city, and allotted him a main' 

THE barber's third BROTHER I7I 

tenance. Had it not been for my generous disposition, I had not 
borne with such a person. 

The Barber's Story of His Third Brother 

As to my third brother (the bUnd man, Bakbak), who was also 
surnamed KufFeh, fate and destiny impelled him one day to a large 
house, and he knocked at the door, hoping that its master would 
answer him, and that he might beg of him a trifle. The owner called 
out, Who is at the door? — but my brother answered not; and then 
heard him call with a loud voice. Who is this? Still, however, he 
returned him no answer; and he heard the sounds of his footsteps 
approaching until he came to the door and opened it, when he said 
to him, What dost thou desire? My brother answered. Something 
for the sake of God, whose name be exalted! — Art thou blind? said 
the man; and my brother answered. Yes. — Then give me thy hand, 
rejoined the master of the house; — so my brother stretched forth to 
him his hand, and the man took him into the house, and led him up 
from stair-case to stair-case until he had ascended to the highest 
platform of the roof: my brother thinking that he was going to give 
him some food or money: and when he had arrived at this highest 
terrace of his house, the owner said, What dost thou desire, O blind 
man ? — I desire something, he answered again, for the sake of God, 
whose name be exalted! — May God, replied the man, open to thee 
some other way! — What is this! exclaimed my brother: couldst thou 
not tell me so when I was below? — Thou vilest of the vile! retorted 
the other: why didst thou not ask of me something for the sake of 
God when thou heardest my voice the first time, when thou wast 
knocking at the door? — What then, said my brother, dost thou 
mean to do to me ? — The man of the house answered, I have nothing 
to give thee. — Then take me down the stairs, said my brother. The 
man replied. The way is before thee. So my brother made his way 
to the stairs, and continued descending until there remained, between 
him and the door, twenty steps, when his foot slipped and he fell, 
and, rolling down, broke his head. 

He went forth, not knowing whither to direct his steps, and 
presently there met him two blind men, his companions, who said 


to him, What hath happened to thee this day? My brother, there- 
fore, related to them the event that had just befallen him; and then 
said to them, O my brothers, I desire to take a portion of the money 
now in our possession, to expend it upon myself. — ^Now the owner 
of the house which he had just before entered had followed him to 
acquaint himself with his proceedings, and without my brother's 
knowledge he walked behind him until the latter entered his abode; 
when he went in after him, still unknown. My brother then sat 
waiting for his companions; and when they came in to him, he said 
to them, Shut the door, and search the room, lest any stranger have 
followed us. When the intruder, therefore, heard what he said, he 
arose, and clung to a rope that was attached to the ceihng; and the 
blind men went feeling about the whole of the chamber, and, find- 
ing no one, returned and seated themselves by my brother, and 
brought forth their money, and counted it; and lo, it was more than 
ten thousand pieces of silver. Having done this, they laid it in a 
corner of the room, and each of them took of the surplus of that sum 
as much as he wanted, and they buried the ten thousand pieces of 
silver in the earth; after which, they placed before themselves some 
food, and sat eating; but my brother heard the sound of a stranger 
by his side, and said to his friends. Is there a stranger among us? 
Then stretching forth his hand, it grasped the hand of the intruder; 
whereupon he cried out to his companions, saying. Here is a stranger! 
— and they fell upon him with blows until they were tired, when 
they shouted out, O Muslims! a thief hath come in upon us, and 
desireth to take our property! — and immediately a number of per- 
sons collected around them. 

Upon this, the stranger whom they accused of being a thief shut 
his eyes, feigning to be blind like themselves, so that no one who 
saw him doubted him to be so; and shouted, O Muslims! I demand 
protection of Allah and the Sultan! I demand protection of Allah 
and the WaU! I demand protection of Allah and the Emir! for 1 
have important information to give to the Emir! — and before they 
could collect their thoughts, the officers of the Wali surrounded 
them and took them all, including my brother, and conducted them 
before their master. The Wali said, What is your story? — and the 
stranger repHed, Hear my words, O Wali; the truth of our case will 


not become known to thee but by means of beating; and if thou wilt, 
begin by beating me before my companions. The Wali therefore 
said, Throw down this man, and flog him with whips : — and accord- 
ingly they threw him down and flogged him; and when the stripes 
tortured him, he opened one of his eyes; and after they had continued 
the flogging a little longer, he opened his other eye; upon which the 
Wali exclaimed. What meaneth this conduct, O thou villain? — 
Grant me indemnity, replied the man, and I will acquaint thee: — 
and the Wali having granted his request, he said. We four pretend 
that we are blind, and, intruding among other people, enter their 
houses, and see their women, and employ stratagems to corrupt 
them, and to obtain money from them. We have acquired, by these 
means, vast gain, amounting to ten thousand pieces of silver; and I 
said to my companions, Give me my due, two thousand and five 
hundred; and they rose against me and beat me, and took my prop- 
erty. I beg protection, therefore, of Allah and of thee; and thou art 
more deserving of my share than they. If thou desire to know the 
truth of that which I have said, flog each of them more than thou 
hast flogged me, and he will open his eyes. 

So the Wali immediately gave orders to flog them; and the first 
of them who suffered was my brother. They continued beating him 
until he almost died; when the Wali said to them, O ye scoundrels! 
do ye deny the gracious gift of God, feigning yourselves to be blind ? 
My brother exclaimed, Allah! Allah! Allah! there is none among us 
who seeth! — They then threw him down again, and ceased not to 
beat him until he became insensible, when the Wali said. Leave him 
until he shall have recovered, and then give him a third flogging: — 
and in the meantime, he gave orders to flog his companions, to give 
each of them more than three hundred stripes; while the seeing 
man said to them. Open your eyes, or they will flog you again after 
this time. Then addressing himself to the Wali, he said. Send with 
me some person to bring thee the property; for these men will not 
open their eyes, fearing to be disgraced before the spectators. And 
the Wali sent with him a man, who brought him the money; and 
he took it, and gave to the informer, out of it, two thousand and 
five hundred pieces of silver, according to the share which he 
claimed, in spite of the others (retaining the rest), and banished 


from the city my brother and the two other men; but I went forth, 

Prince of the Faithful, and, having overtaken my brother, asked 
him respecting his sufferings; and he acquainted me with that which 

1 have related unto thee. I then brought him back secretly into the 
city, and allotted him a supply of food and drink as long as he lived. 

The Khalifeh laughed at my story, and said. Give him a present, 
and let him go: — ^but I replied, I will receive nothing until I have 
declared to the Prince of the Faithful what happened to the rest of 
my brothers, and made it manifest to him that I am a man of few 
words: — whereupon the Khalifeh said, Crack our ears, then, with 
thy ridiculous stories, and continue to us thy disclosure of vices and 
misdeeds. So I proceeded thus: — 

The Barber's Story of His Fourth Brother 

My fourth brother, O Prince of the Faithful, was the one-eyed 
(named El-Kuz el Aswani) : he was a butcher in Baghdad, and both 
sold meat and reared lambs; and the great and the rich had recourse 
to him to purchase of him their meat, so that he amassed great 
wealth, and became possessor of cattle and houses. Thus he con- 
tinued to prosper for a long time; and as he was in his shop, one 
day, there accosted him an old man with a long beard, who handed 
to him some money, saying, Give me some meat for it. So he took 
the money, and gave him the meat; and when the old man had 
gone away, my brother looked at the money which he had paid him, 
and, seeing that it was of a brilUant whiteness, put it aside by itself. 
This old man continued to repair to him during a period of five 
months, and my brother always threw his money into a chest by 
itself; after which period he desired to take it out for the purpose 
of buying some sheep; but on opening the chest, he found all the 
contents converted into white paper, clipped round; and he slapped 
his face, and cried out; whereupon a number of people collected 
around him, and he related to them his story, at which they were 

He then went again, as usual, into his shop, and, having killed 
a ram and hung it up within the shop, he cut off some of the meat, 
and suspended it outside, saying within himself. Perhaps now this 


old man will come again, and if so, I will seize him : — and very soon 
after, the old man approached with his money; upon which my 
brother arose, and, laying hold upon him, began to cry out, O 
Muslims, come to my aid, and hear what this scoundrel hath done 
unto me! But when the old man heard his words he said to him, 
Which will be more agreeable to thee — that thou abstain from dis- 
gracing me, or that I disgrace thee, before the people? — For what 
wilt thou disgrace me? said my brother. The old man answered, 
For thy selling human flesh for mutton. — Thou liest, thou accursed! 
exclaimed my brother. — None is accursed, rejoined the old man, but 
he who hath a man suspended in his shop. My brother said, If it 
be as thou hast asserted, my property and blood shall be lawful to 
thee: — and immediately the old man exclaimed, O ye people here 
assembled! verily this butcher slaughtereth human beings, and 
selleth their flesh for mutton; and if ye desire to know the truth of 
my assertion, enter his shop! So the people rushed upon his shop, 
and beheld the ram converted into a man, hung up, and they laid 
hold upon my brother, crying out against him. Thou infidel! Thou 
scoundrel! — and those who had been his dearest friends turned upon 
him and beat him; and the old man gave him a blow upon his eye, 
and knocked it out. The people then carried the carcass, and took 
with them my brother, to the chief magistrate of the police; and 
the old man said to him, O Emir, this man slaughtereth human 
beings, and selleth their flesh for mutton; and we have therefore 
brought him to thee : arise, then, and perform the requisition of God, 
whose might and glory be extolled! Upon this, the magistrate thrust 
back my brother from him, and, refusing to listen to what he would 
have said, ordered that five hundred blows of a stail should be 
inflicted upon him, and took all his property. Had it not been for 
the great amount of his wealth, he had put him to death. He then 
banished him from the city. 

My brother, therefore, went forth in a state of distraction, not 
knowing what course to pursue; but he journeyed onwards until 
he arrived at a great city, where he thought fit to settle as a shoe- 
maker: so he opened a shop, and sat there working for his sub- 
sistence. And one day he went forth on some business, and, hearing 
the neighing of horses, he inquired respecting the cause, and was 


told that the King was going forth to hunt; whereupon he went to 
amuse himself with the sight of the procession: but the King hap- 
pening to look on one side, his eye met that of my brother, and imme- 
diately he hung down his head, and exclaimed, I seek refuge with 
God from the evil of this day! He then turned aside the bridle of 
his horse, and rode back, and all his troops returned with him; after 
which, he ordered his pages to run after my brother, and to beat 
him; and they did so; giving him so severe a beating that he almost 
died; and he knew not the cause. He returned to his abode in a 
miserable plight, and afterwards went and related his misfortune to 
one of the King's attendants, who laughed at the recital until he 
fell backwards, and said to him, O my brother, the King cannot 
endure the sight of a one-eyed person, and especially when the 
defect is that of the left eye; for in this case, he faileth not to put 
the person to death. 

When my brother heard these words, he determined to fly from 
that city; and forthwith departed from it, and repaired to another 
city, where there was no King. Here he remained a long time; and 
after this, as he was meditating upon his adventure in the former 
city, he went out one day to amuse himself, and heard again the 
neighing of horses behind him; upon which he exclaimed. The 
decree of God hath come to pass! — and ran away, seeking for a place 
in which to conceal himself; but he found none, until, continuing 
his search, he saw a door set up as a barricade; so he pushed this, and 
it fell down; and, entering the doorway, he beheld a long passage, 
into which he advanced. Suddenly, however, two men laid hold 
upon him, and exclaimed, Praise be to God who hath enabled us 
to take thee, O thou enemy of God! For these three nights thou 
hast suffered us to enjoy neither quiet nor sleep, and we have found 
no repose: nay, thou hast given us a foretaste of death! — O men, 
said my brother, what hath happened unto you? They answered, 
Thou keepest a watch upon us, and desirest to disgrace us, and to 
disgrace the master of the house! Is it not enough for thee that thou 
hast reduced him to poverty, thou and thy companions? Produce 
now the knife wherewith thou threatenest us every night. — And so 
saying, they searched him, and found upon his waist the knife with 
which he cut the shoe-leather. — O men, he exclaimed, fear God in 


your treatment of me, and know that my story is wonderful. They 
said, What then is thy story? So he related it to them, in the hope 
that they would liberate him: but they believed not what he said; 
and, instead of shewing him any regard, they beat him, and tore his 
clothes; whereupon, his body becoming exposed to their view, they 
discovered upon his sides the marks of beating with mikra'ahs, and 
exclaimed, O wretch! these scars bear testimony to thy guilt. They 
then conducted him before the Wali, while he said within himself, 
I am undone for my transgressions, and none can deliver me but 
God, whose name be exalted! And when he was brought before the 
Wali, the magistrate said to him, O thou scoundrel! nothing but a 
heinous crime hath occasioned thy having been beaten with mik- 
ra'ahs: — and he caused a hundred lashes to be inflicted upon him; 
after which, they mounted him upon a camel, and proclaimed be- 
fore him. This is the recompense of him who breaketh into men's 
houses! — But I had already heard of his misfortunes, and gone 
forth, and found him; and I accompanied him about the city while 
they were making this proclamation, until they left him; when I 
took him, and brought him back secretly into Baghdad, and appor- 
tioned him a daily allowance of food and drink. 

The Barber's Fifth Brother 

My fifth brother (El-Feshshar ["Alnaschar"] ) was cropped of his 
ears, O Prince of the Faithful. He was a pauper, who begged alms 
by night, and subsisted upon what he thus acquired by day: and 
our father was a very old man, and he fell sick and died, leaving 
to us seven hundred pieces of silver, of which each of us took his 
portion; namely, a hundred pieces. Now my fifth brother, when he 
had received his share, was perplexed, not knowing what to do with 
it; but while he was in this state, it occurred to his mind to buy 
with it all kinds of articles of glass, and to sell them and make profit : 
so he bought glass with his hundred pieces of silver, and put it in a 
large tray, and sat upon an elevated place, to sell it, leaning his back 
against a wall. And as he sat, he meditated, and said within him- 
self, Verily my whole stock consisteth of this glass: I will sell it for 
two hundred pieces of silver; and with the two hundred I will buy 


other glass which I will sell for four hundred; and thus I will con- 
tinue buying and selling until I have acquired great wealth. Then 
with this I will purchase all kinds of merchandise and essences and 
jewels, and so obtain vast gain. After that, I will buy a handsome 
house, and memluks,and horses, and gilded saddles; and I will eat 
and drink; and I will not leave in the city a single female singer but 
I will have her brought to my house that I may hear her songs. — 
All this he calculated with the tray of glass lying before him. — Then, 
said he, I will send all the female betrothers to seek in marriage for 
me the daughters of Kings and Wezirs; and I will demand as my 
wife the daughter of the chief Wezir; for I have heard that she is 
endowed with perfect beauty and surprising loveliness; and I will 
give as her dowry a thousand pieces of gold. If her father consent, 
my wish is attained; and if he consent not, I will take her by force, 
in spite of him: and when I have come back to my house, I will buy 
ten young eunuchs, and I will purchase the apparel of Kings and 
Sultans, and cause to be made for me a saddle of gold set with 
jewels; after which I will ride every day upon a horse, with slaves 
behind me and before me, and go about through the streets and 
markets to amuse myself, while the people will salute me and pray 
for me. Then I will pay a visit to the Wezir, who is the father of 
the maiden, with memluks behind me and before me, and on my 
right hand and on my left; and when he seeth me, he will rise to 
me, in humility, and seat me in his own place; and he himself will 
sit down below me, because I am his son-in-law. I will then order 
one of the servants to bring a purse containing the pieces of gold 
which compose the dowry; and he will place it before the Wezir; 
and I will add to it another purse, that he may know my manly 
spirit and excessive generosity, and that the world is contemptible 
in my eye; and when he addresseth me with ten words, I will answer 
him with two. And I will return to my house; and when any per- 
son Cometh to me from the house of the Wezir, I will clothe him 
with a rich dress: but if any come with a present, I will return it; 
I will certainly not accept it. Then, on the night of the bridal dis- 
play, I will attire myself in the most magnificent of my dresses, and 
sit upon a mattress covered with silk; and when my wife cometh to 
me, like the full moon, decked with her ornaments and apparel, I 

THE barber's fifth BROTHER 1 79 

will command her to stand before me as stands the timid and the 
abject; and I will not look at her, on account of the haughtiness of 
my spirit and the gravity of my wisdom; so that the maids will say, 
O our master and our lord, may we be thy sacrifice! This thy wife, 
or rather thy handmaid, awaiteth thy kind regard, and is standing 
before thee: then graciously bestow on her one glance; for the pos- 
ture hath become painful to her. — Upon this, I will raise my head, 
and look at her with one glance, and again incline my head down- 
wards; and thus I will do until the ceremony of displaying her is 
finished; whereupon they will conduct her to the sleeping-chamber; 
and I will rise from my place, and go to another apartment, and 
put on my night-dress, and go to the chamber in which she is sit- 
ting, where I will seat myself upon the divan; but I will not look 
towards her. The tirewomen will urge me to approach her; but I 
will not hear their words, and will order some of the attendants to 
bring a purse containing five hundred pieces of gold for them, and 
command them to retire from the chamber. And when they have 
gone, I will seat myself by the side of the bride; but with averted 
countenance, that she may say. Verily this is a man of a haughty 
spirit. Then her mother will come to me, and will kiss my hands, and 
say to me, O my master, look upon thy handmaid with the eye of 
mercy; for she is submissively standing before thee. But I will return 
her no answer. And she will kiss my feet, again and again, and will 
say, O my master, my daughter is young and hath seen no man but 
thee; and if she experience from thee repugnance, her heart will 
break: incline to her, therefore, and speak to her, and calm her mind. 
And upon this I will look at her through the corner of my eye, and 
command her to remain standing before me, that she may taste the 
savour of humiliation, and know that I am the Sultan of the age. 
Then her mother will say to me, O my master, this is thy hand- 
maid : have compassion upon her, and be gracious to her : — and she 
will order her to fill a cup with wine, and to put it to my mouth. 
So her daughter will say, O my lord, I conjure thee by Allah that 
thou reject not the cup from thy slave; for verily I am thy slave. 
But I will make her no reply; and she will urge me to take it, and 
will say. It must be drunk ; and will put it to my mouth : and upon 
this, I will shake my hand in her face, and spurn her with my foot, 


and do thus. — So saying, he kicked the tray of glass, which, being 
upon a place elevated above the ground, fell, and all that w^as in it 
broke: there escaped nothing: and he cried out and said, All this is 
the result of my pride! And he slapped his face, and tore his clothes; 
the passengers gazing at him, while he wept, and exclaimed. Ah! 
O my grief! 

The people were now repairing to perform the Friday-prayers; 
and some merely cast their eyes at him, while others noticed him 
not; but while he was in this state, deprived of his whole property, 
and weeping, without intermission, a female approached him, on 
her way to attend the Friday-prayers: she was of admirable loveli- 
ness; the odour of musk was diffused from her; under her was a 
mule with a stuffed saddle covered with gold-embroidered silk; and 
with her was a number of servants; and when she saw the broken 
glass, and my brother's state and his tears, she was moved with pity 
for him, and asked respecting his case. She was answered. He had 
a tray of glass, by the sale of which to obtain his subsistence, and it 
is broken, and he is afflicted as thou seest : — and upon this, she called 
to one of the servants, saying, Give what thou hast with thee to this 
poor man. So he gave him a purse, and he took it, and when he had 
opened it, he found in it five hundred pieces of gold, whereupon he 
almost died of excessive joy, and offered up prayers for his ben- 

He returned to his house a rich man, and sat reflecting, and lo, 
a person knocked at the door: he rose, therefore, and opened it; and 
beheld an old woman whom he knew not, and she said to him, O 
my son, know that the time of prayer hath almost expired, and I 
am not prepared by ablution; wherefore I beg that thou wilt admit 
me into thy house, that I may perform it. He replied, I hear and 
obey; — and, retiring within, gave her permission to enter; his mind 
still wandering from joy on account of the gold; and when she had 
finished the ablution, she approached the spot where he was sitting, 
and there performed the prayers of two rek'ahs. She then oflfered up 
a supplication for my brother; and he thanked her, and doffed her 
two pieces of gold; but when she saw this, she exclaimed, Extolled 
be God's perfection! Verily I wonder at the person who fell in love 
with thee in thy beggarly condition! Take back thy money from me, 

THE barber's fifth BROTHER l8l 

and if thou want it not, return it to her who gave it thee when thy 
glass broke. — O my mother, said he, how can I contrive to obtain 
access to her? She answered, O my son, she hath an affection for 
thee; but she is the wife of an affluent man; take then with thee all 
thy money, and when thou art with her be not deficient in courteous- 
ness and agreeable words; so shalt thou obtain of her favours and 
her wealth whatever thou shalt desire. My brother, therefore, took 
all the gold, and arose and went with the old woman, hardly beUev- 
ing what she had told him; and she proceeded, and my brother 
behind her, until they arrived at a great door, at which she knocked; 
whereupon a Greek damsel came and opened the door, and the old 
woman entered, ordering my brother to do the same. He did so, 
and found himself in a large house, where he beheld a great fur- 
nished chamber, with curtains hung in it; and, seating himself 
there, he put down the gold before him, and placed his turban on 
his knees; and scarcely had he done so, when there came to him a 
damsel, the like of whom had never been seen, attired in most 
magnificent apparel. My brother stood up at her approach; and 
when she beheld him she laughed in his face, and rejoiced at his 
visit: then going to the door, she locked it; after which she returned 
to my brother, and took his hand, and both of them went together 
into a private chamber, carpeted with various kinds of silk, where 
my brother sat down, and she seated herself by his side, and toyed 
with him for a considerable time. She then rose, saying to him, 
Move not, from this place until I return to thee; — and was absent 
from him for a short period; and as my brother was waiting for her, 
there came in to him a black slave, of gigantic stature, with a drawn 
sword, the brightness of which dazzled the sight; and he exclaimed 
to my brother. Wo to thee! Who brought thee to this place? Thou 
vilest of men! Thou misbegotten wretch, and nursling of impunity! 
— My brother was unable to make any reply; his tongue was in- 
stantly tied; and the slaves laid hold upon him, and stripped him, 
and struck him more than eighty blows with the flat of his sword, 
until he fell sprawling upon the floor; when he retired from him, 
concluding that he was dead, and uttered a great cry, so that the 
earth trembled, and the place resounded at his voice, saying, Where 
is El-Melihah? — upon which a girl came to him, holding a hand- 


some tray containing salt; and with this she forthwith stuffed the 
flesh-wounds with which my brother's skin was gashed until they 
gaped open; but he moved not, fearing the slave would discover 
that he was alive, and kill him. The girl then went away, and the 
slave uttered another cry, like the first, whereupon the old woman 
came to my brother, and, dragging him by the feet to a deep and 
dark vault, threw him into it upon a heap of slain. In this place he 
remained for two whole days; and God (whose perfection he ex- 
tolled!) made the salt to be the means of preserving his life, by 
stanching the flow of blood from his veins; so, when he found that 
he had strength sufficient to move, he arose, and, opening a shutter 
in the wall, emerged from the place of the slain; and God (to whom 
be ascribed all might and glory!) granted him his protection. He 
therefore proceeded in the darkness, and concealed himself in the 
passage until the morning, when the old woman went forth to seek 
another victim, and my brother, going out after her, without her 
knowledge, returned to his house. 

He now occupied himself with the treatment of his wounds until 
he was restored; and continued to watch for the old woman, and 
constantly saw her taking men, one after another, and conducting 
them to the same house. But he uttered not a word on the subject; 
and when his health returned, and his strength was completely re- 
newed, he took a piece of rag, and made of it a purse, which he filled 
with pieces of glass : he then tied it to his waist, and disguised him- 
self so that no one would know him, in the dress of a foreigner; and, 
taking a sword, placed it within his clothes; and as soon as he saw 
the old woman, he said to her, in the dialect of a foreigner. Old 
woman, hast thou a pair of scales fit for weighing nine hundred 
pieces of gold? The old woman answered, I have a young son, a 
money-changer, and he hath all kinds of scales; therefore accom- 
pany me to him before he go forth from his abode, that he may 
weigh for thee thy gold. So my brother said. Walk on before me: — 
and she went, and my brother followed her until she arrived at the 
door, and knocked; upon which the girl came out, and laughed in 
his face; and the old woman said to her, I have brought you to-day 
some fat meat. The girl then took my brother's hand, and conducted 
him into the house (the same which he had entered before), and 

THE barber's fifth BROTHER 1 83 

after she had sat with him a short time, she rose, saying to him. Quit 
not this place until I return to thee: — and she retired; and my 
brother had remained not long after when the slave came to him 
with the drawn sword, and said to him, Rise, thou unlucky! So my 
brother rose, and, as the slave walked before him, he put his hand 
to the sword which was concealed beneath his clothes, and struck 
the slave with it, and cut off his head; after which he dragged him 
by his feet to the vault, and called out. Where is El-Melihah? The 
slave-girl, therefore, came, having in her hand the tray containing 
the salt; but when she saw my brother with the sword in his hand, 
she turned back and fled: my brother, however, overtook her, and 
struck off her head. He then called out. Where is the old woman? 
— and she came; and he said to her. Dost thou know me, O malev- 
olent hag? She answered. No, O my lord. — I am, said he, the man 
who had the pieces of gold, and in whose house thou performedst 
the ablution, and prayedst; after which, devising a stratagem against 
me, thou betrayedst me into this place. — The old woman exclaimed. 
Fear God in thy treatment of me! — ^but my brother, turning towards 
her, struck her with the sword, and clove her in twain. He then 
went in search for the chief damsel, and when she saw him, her 
reason fled, and she implored his pardon; whereupon he granted 
her his pardon, and said to her. What occasioned thy falling into 
the hands of this black? She answered, I was a slave to one of the 
merchants, and this old woman used to visit me; and one day she 
said to me. We are celebrating a festivity, the like of which no one 
hath seen, and I have a desire that thou shouldst witness it. I replied, 
I hear and obey: — and arose, and clad myself in the best of my 
attire, and, taking with me a purse containing a hundred pieces of 
gold, proceeded with her until she entered this house, when sud- 
denly this black took me, and I have continued with him in this 
state three years, through the stratagem of the old witch. — ^My 
brother then said to her, Is there any property of his in the house ? — 
Abundance, she answered; and if thou canst remove it, do so: — and 
upon this, he arose and went with her, when she opened to him 
chests filled with purses, at the sight of which he was confounded; 
and she said to him, Go now, and leave me here, and bring some 
person to remove the property. So he went out, and, having hired 


ten men, returned; but on his arrival at the door, he found it open, 
and saw neither the damsel nor the purses; he found, however, some 
little money remaining, and the stuffs. He discovered, therefore, 
that she had eluded him; and he took the money that remained, and, 
opening the closets, took all the stuffs which they contained, leaving 
nothing in the house. 

He passed the next night full of happiness; but when the morn- 
ing came, he found at the door twenty soldiers, and on his going 
forth to them, they laid hold upon him, saying. The Wali sum- 
moneth thee. So they took him, and conducted him to the Wali, 
who, when he saw him, said to him. Whence obtainedst thou these 
stuffs ? — Grant me indemnity, said my brother : — and the Wali gave 
him the handkerchief of indemnity; and my brother related to him 
all that had befallen him with the old woman from first to last, and 
the flight of the damsel; adding, — and of that which I have taken, 
take thou what thou wilt; but leave me wherewith to procure my 
food. The Wali thereupon demanded the whole of the money and 
the stuffs; but fearing that the Sultan might become acquainted 
with the matter, he retained a portion only, and gave the rest to my 
brother, saying to him. Quit this city, or I will hang thee. My 
brother replied, I hear and obey: — and went forth to one of the 
surrounding cities. Some robbers, however, came upon him, and 
stripped and beat him, and cut off his ears; and I, having heard of 
his situation, went forth to him, taking to him some clothes; and 
brought him back privily into the city, and supplied him with daily 
food and drink. 

The Barber's Story of His Sixth Brother 

My sixth brother (Shakalik), O Prince of the Faithful, had his 
lips cut off. He was in a state of extreme poverty, possessing nothing 
of the goods of this perishable world; and he went forth one day to 
seek for something with which to stay his departing spirit, and on 
his way he beheld a handsome house, with a wide and lofty vestibule, 
at the door of which were servants, commanding and forbidding; 
whereupon he inquired of one of the persons standing there, who 
answered. This house belongeth to a man of the sons of the Barmekis. 
My brother, therefore, advanced to the doorkeepers, and begged 

THE barber's sixth BROTHER 1 85 

them to give him something; and they said, Enter the door o£ the 
house, and thou wilt obtain what thou desirest of its master. So he 
entered the vestibule, and proceeded through it a while until he 
arrived at a mansion of the utmost beauty and elegance, having a 
garden in the midst of it, unsurpassed in beauty by anything that 
had ever been seen: its floors were paved with marble, and its cur- 
tains were hanging around. He knew not in which direction to go; 
but advanced to the upper extremity; and there he beheld a man 
of handsome countenance and beard, who, on seeing my brother, 
rose to him, and welcomed him, inquiring respecting his circum- 
stances. He accordingly informed him that he was in want; and 
when the master of the house heard his words, he manifested exces- 
sive grief, and, taking hold of his own clothes, rent them, and 
exclaimed. Am I in the city, and thou in it hungry? It is a thing 
that I cannot endure! — Then promising him every kind of happi- 
ness, he said. Thou must stay and partake of my salt. But my 
brother replied, O my master, I have not patience to wait; for I am 
in a state of extreme hunger. 

Upon this, the master of the house called out. Boy, bring the basin 
and ewer! — and he said, O my guest, advance, and wash thy hand. 
He then performed the same motions as if he were washing his 
hand; and called to his attendants to bring the table; whereupon 
they began to come and go as though they were preparing it; after 
which the master of the house took my brother, and sat down with 
him at this imaginary table, and proceeded to move his hands and 
lips as if he were eating; saying to my brother. Eat, and be not 
ashamed, for thou art hungry, and I know how thou art suffering 
from the violence of thy hunger. My brother, therefore, made the 
same motions, as if he also were eating, while his host said to him. 
Eat, and observe this bread and its whiteness. To this, my brother 
at first made no reply; but observed in his own mind, Verily this 
is a man who loveth to jest with others: — so he said to him, O my 
master, in my life I have never seen bread more beautifully white 
than this, or any of sweeter taste: — on which the host rejoined, This 
was made by a female slave of mine whom I purchased for five hun- 
dred pieces of gold. He then called out, Boy, bring to us the sikbaj,^^ 
^^A dish composed of meat, wheat-flour, and vinegar. 


the like of which is not found among the dishes of Kings! — and, 
addressing my brother, he said, Eat, O my guest; for thou art 
hungry, vehemently so and in absolute want of food. So my brother 
began to twist about his mouth, and to chew, as in eating. The 
master of the house now proceeded to demand different kinds of 
viands, one after another; and, though nothing was brought, he con- 
tinued ordering my brother to eat. Next he called out. Boy, place 
before us the chickens stuffed with pistachio-nuts: — and said to his 
guest. Eat that of which thou hast never tasted the like. — O my 
master, replied my brother, verily this dish hath not its equal in 
sweetness or flavour: — and the host, thereupon, began to put his 
hand to my brother's mouth as though he were feeding him with 
morsels; and proceeded to enumerate to him the various different 
kinds of viands, and to describe their several excellencies; while his 
hunger so increased that he longed for a cake of barley-bread. The 
master of the house then said to him, Hast thou tasted anything more 
delicious than the spices in these dishes? — ^No, O my master, an- 
swered my brother. — Eat more then, resumed the host; and be not 
ashamed. — I have eaten enough of the meats, replied the guest. So 
the man of the house called to his attendants to bring the sweets; 
and they moved their hands about in the air as if they were bringing 
them; whereupon the host said to my brother, Eat of this dish; for 
it is excellent; and of these kataif," by my life! and take this one 
before the sirup runs from it. — May I never be deprived of thee, O 
my master! exclaimed my brother, proceeding to inquire of him 
respecting the abundance of musk in the kataif. — This, answered 
the host, is my usual custom in my house: they always put for me, 
in each of the kataif, a mithkaP^ of musk, and half a mithkal of 
ambergris. — All this time my brother was moving his head and 
mouth, and rolling about his tongue between his cheeks, as if he 
were enjoying the sweets. After this, the master of the house called 
out to his attendants. Bring the dried fruits! — and again they moved 
about their hands in the air as though they were doing what he 
ordered; when he said to my brother. Eat of these almonds, and of 
these walnuts, and of these raisins; — and so on; enumerating the 
various kinds of dried fruits; and added again, Eat, and be not 

^^ Small pancakes or other sweet pastry. ^^ The weight of a dinar. 

THE barber's sixth BROTHER 1 87 

ashamed. — O my master, replied my brother, I have had enough, 
and have not power to eat anything more: — but the host rejoined. 
If thou desire, O my guest, to eat more, and to dehght thy- 
self with extraordinary dainties, by Allah! by Allah! remain not 

My brother now^ reflected upon his situation, and upon the man- 
ner in w^hich this man w^as jesting with him, and said within him- 
self. By Allah, I will do to him a deed that shall make him repent 
before God of these actions! The man of the house next said to his 
attendants. Bring us the wine: — and, as before, they made the same 
motions with their hands in the air as if they were doing what he 
commanded; after which he pretended to hand to my brother a cup, 
saying. Take this cup, for it will delight thee: — and his guest replied, 

my master, this is of thy bounty: — and he acted with his hand 
as though he were drinking it. — Hath it pleased thee ? said the host. 
— O my master, answered my brother, I have never seen anything 
more delicious than this wine. — Drink then, rejoined the master of 
the house, and may it be attended with benefit and health: — and he 
himself pretended to drink, and to hand a second cup to my brother, 
who, after he had affected to drink it, feigned himself intoxicated, 
and, taking his host unawares, raised his hand until the whiteness 
of his arm-pit appeared, and struck him such a slap upon his neck 
that the chamber rang at the blow; and this he followed by a second 
blow; whereupon the man exclaimed. What is this, thou vilest of 
the creation? — O my master, answered my brother, I am thy slave, 
whom thou hast graciously admitted into thine abode, and thou hast 
fed him with thy provisions, and treated him with old wine, and he 
hath become intoxicated, and committed an outrage upon thee; 
but thou art of too exalted dignity to be angry with him for his 

When the master of the house heard these words of my brother, 
he uttered a loud laugh, and said to him, Verily for a long time have 

1 made game of men, and jested with all persons accustomed to 
joking and rudeness, but I have not seen among them any who could 
endure this trick, nor any who had sagacity to conform to all my 
actions, except thee: now therefore, I pardon thee; and be thou my 
companion in reality, and never relinquish me. He then gave orders 


to bring a number of the dishes above mentioned, and "he and my 
brother ate together to satisfaction; after which they removed to the 
drinking-chamber, w^here female slaves like so many moons sang 
all kinds of melodies, and played on all kinds of musical instru- 
ments. There they drank until intoxication overcame them: the 
master of the house treated my brother as a familiar friend, became 
greatly attached to him, and clad him with a costly dress; and on 
the following morning they resumed their feasting and drinking. 
Thus they continued to live for a period of twenty years: the man 
then died, and the Sultan seized upon his property, and took posses- 
sion of it. 

My brother, upon this, went forth from the city, a fugitive; and 
upon his way, a party of Arabs came upon him. They made him a 
captive; and the man who captured him tortured him with beating, 
and said to him. By Allah, purchase thyself of me by wealth, or I 
will kill thee : — but my brother, weeping, replied. By Allah, I possess 
nothing, O Sheykh of the Arabs; nor do I know the means of 
obtaining any property: I am thy captive; I have fallen into thy 
hands, and do with me what thou wilt. And immediately the tyran- 
nical Bedawi drew forth from his girdle a broad-bladed knife (such 
as, if plunged into the neck of a camel, would cut it across from 
one jugular vein to the other) and, taking it in his right hand, 
approached my poor brother, and cut off with it his lips; still urging 
his demand. 

Now this Bedawi had a handsome wife, who, when he was absent, 
used to manifest a strong affection for my brother; though he 
observed a proper decorum towards her, fearing God (whose name 
be exalted!), and it happened one day, that she had called him, and 
seated him with her; but while they were together, lo, her husband 
came in upon them; and when he beheld my brother, he exclaimed, 
Wo to thee, thou base wretch! Dost thou desire now to corrupt my 
wife ? — Then drawing his knife, he inflicted upon him another cruel 
wound; after which he mounted him upon a camel, and having 
cast him upon a mountain, left him there, and went his way. Some 
travellers, however, passed by him, and when they discovered him, 
they gave him food and drink, and acquainted me with his case, 


SO I went forth to him, and conveyed him back into the city, and 
allotted him a sufficient maintenance. 

Now I have come unto thee, O Prince of the Faithful, continued 
the barber, and feared to return to my house without relating to 
thee these facts; for to neglect doing so had been an error. Thus 
thou hast seen that, although having six brothers, I am of a more 
upright character than they. — But when the Prince of the Faithful 
had heard my story, and all that I had related to him respecting my 
brothers, he laughed, and said. Thou hast spoken truth O Samit (O 
silent man); thou art a person of few words, and devoid of im- 
pertinence; now, however, depart from this city, and take up thine 
abode in another. So he banished me from Baghdad; and I jour- 
neyed through various countries, and traversed many regions, until 
I heard of his death, and of the succession of another Khalifeh; 
when returning to my city, I met with this young man, unto whom 
I did the best of deeds, and who, had it not been for me, had been 
slain: yet he hath accused me of that which is not in my character; 
for all that he hath related of me, with respect to impertinence, and 
loquacity, and dulness, and want of taste, is false, O people, — 

The tailor then proceeded thus: — ^When we heard the story of the 
barber, and were convinced of his impertinence and loquacity, and 
that the young man had been treated unjustly by him, we seized 
hold upon him, and put him in confinement, and, seating ourselves 
to keep watch over him, ate and drank; and the feast was finished 
in the most agreeable manner. We remained sitting together until 
the call to afternoon-prayers, when I went forth, and returned to 
my house; but my wife looked angrily at me, and said. Thou hast 
been all the day enjoying thy pleasure while I have been sitting at 
home sorrowful; now if thou go not forth with me and amuse me 
for the remainder of the day, thy refusal will be the cause of my 
separation from thee. So I took her and went out with her, and we 
amused ourselves until nightfall, when, returning home, we met this 
humpback, full of drink, and repeating verses; upon which I Invited 
him to come home with us and he consented. I then went forth to 
buy some fried fish, and having bought it and returned, we sat 


down to eat; and my wife took a morsel of bread and a piece of fish, 
and put them into his mouth, and choked him, so that he died; 
whereupon I took him up, and contrived to throw him into the 
house of this physician, and he contrived to throw him into the 
house of the steward, and the steward contrived to throw him in 
the way of the broker. — This is the story of what happened to me 
yesterday. Is it not more wonderful than that of the humpback ? 

When the King had heard this story, he ordered certain of his 
chamberlains to go with the tailor, and to bring the barber; saying 
to them. His presence is indispensable, that I may hear his talk, and 
it may be the cause of the deliverance of you all: then we will bury 
this humpback decently in the earth, for he hath been dead since 
yesterday; and we will make him a monument round his grave, 
since he hath been the occasion of our acquaintance with these won- 
derful stories. 

The chamberlains and the tailor soon came back, after having 
gone to the place of confinement and brought the barber, whom they 
placed before the King; and when the King beheld him, he saw 
him to be an old man, passed his ninetieth year, of dark countenance, 
and white beard and eyebrows, with small ears, and long nose, and 
a haughty aspect. The King laughed at the sight of him and said 
to him, O silent man, I desire that thou relate to me somewhat of 
thy stories. — O King of the age, replied the barber, what is the occa- 
sion of the presence of this Christian and this Jew and this MusHm, 
and this humpback lying dead among you; and what is the reason 
of this assembly? — Wherefore dost thou ask this? said the King. 
The barber answered, I ask it in order that the King may know me 
to be no impertinent person, nor one who meddleth with that which 
doth not concern him, and that I am free from the loquacity of which 
they accuse me: for I am fortunate in my characteristic appellation, 
since they have surnamed me Es-Samit; and, as the poet hath said, — 

Seldom hast thou seen a person honoured with a surname, but thou wilt 
find, if thou search, that his character is expressed by it. 

The King therefore said, Explain to the barber the case of this 
humpback, and what happened to him yesterday evening, and ex- 


plain to him also what the Christian hath related, and the Jew and 
the steward and the tailor. So they repeated to him the stories of 
all these persons. 

The barber, thereupon, shook his head, saying. By Allah, this is 
a wonderful thing! Uncover this humpback that I may examine 
him. — And they did so. He then seated himself at his head, and, 
taking it up, placed it upon his lap, and looked at his face, and 
laughed so violently that he fell backwards, exclaiming. For every 
death there is a cause; and the death of this humpback is most 
wonderful: it is worthy of being registered in the records, that 
posterity may be instructed by this event! — The King, astonished 
at his words, said, O Samit, explain to us the reason of thy saying 
this. — O King, replied the barber, by thy beneficence, Hfe is yet in 
the humpback! He then drew forth from his bosom a pot contain- 
ing some ointment, and with this he anointed the neck of the hump- 
back; after which he covered it up until it perspired; when he took 
forth an iron forceps, and put it down his throat, and extracted the 
piece of fish with its bone, and all the people saw them. The hump- 
back now sprang upon his feet, and sneezed, and, recovering his 
consciousness, drew his hands over his face, and exclaimed. There 
is no Deity but God! Mohammad is God's Apostle! God bless and 
save him! — and all who were present were astonished at the sight 
and the King laughed until he became insensible; as did also the 
other spectators. The King exclaimed, By Allah, this accident is 
wonderful! I have never witnessed anything more strange! — and 
added, O Muslims! O assembly of soldiers! have ye ever in. the 
course of your lives seen any one die and after that come to life? 
But had not God blessed him with this barber, the humpback had 
been to-day numbered among the people of the other world; for 
the barber hath been the means of restoring him to life. — They 
replied. This is indeed a wonderful thing! 

The King then gave orders to record this event; and when they 
had done so, he placed the record in the royal Hbrary; and he 
bestowed dresses of honour upon the Jew and the Christian and 
the steward; upon each of them, a costly dress; the tailor he ap- 
pointed to be his own tailor, granting him regular allowances, and 
reconciling him and the humpback with each other: the humpback 


he honoured with a rich and beautiful dress, and with similar allow- 
ances, and appointed him his cup-companion; and upon the barber 
also he conferred the like favours, rewarding him with a costly dress 
of honour, regular allowances, and a fixed salary, and appointing 
him state-barber, and his own cup-companion: so they all lived in 
the utmost happiness and comfort until they were visited by the 
terminator of delights and the separator of friends. 

[Nights 32—^6] 
The Story of Nur-Ed-Din and Enis-El-Jelis 

THERE was, in El-Basrah, a certain King, who loved the 
poor and indigent, and regarded his subjects with benev- 
olence; he bestowed of his wealth upon him who believed 
in Mohammad (God bless and save him!) and was such as one of 
the poets who have written of him hath thus described : — 

He used his lances as pens; and the hearts of his enemies, as paper; their 

blood being his ink; 
And hence, I imagine, our forefathers applied to the lance the term 


The name of this King was Mohammad the son of Suleyman Ez- 
Zeyni; and he had two Wezirs; one of whom was named El-Mo'in 
the son of Sawi; and the other, El-Fadl the son of Khakan. El-Fadl 
the son of Khakan was the most generous of the people of his age, 
upright in conduct, so that all hearts agreed in loving him, and the 
wise complied with his counsel, and all the people suppUcated for 
him length of life: for he was a person of auspicious aspect, a pre- 
venter of evil and mischief: but the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sav/i 
hated others, and loved not good; he was a man of inauspicious 
aspect; and in the same degree that the people loved Fadl-ed-Din 
the son of Khakan, so did they abhor El-Mo'in the son of Sawi in 
accordance with the decree of the Almighty. 

Now the King Mohammad the son of Suleyman Ez-Zeyni was 
sitting one day upon his throne, surrounded by the officers of his 
court, and he called to his Wezir El-Fadl the son of Khakan, and 
said to him, I desire a female slave unsurpassed in beauty by any in 
her age, of perfect loveliness and exquisite symmetry, and endowed 
with all praiseworthy qualities. — Such as this, replied his courtiers, 
is not to be found for less than ten thousand pieces of gold. And 
the Sultan thereupon called out to the treasurer, saying, Carry ten 



thousand pieces of gold to the house of El-Fadl the son of Khakan. 
So the treasurer did as he commanded, and the Wezir departed, after 
the Sultan had ordered him to repair every day to the market, and 
to commission the brokers to procure what he had described, and 
had commanded also that no female slave of a greater price than 
one thousand pieces of gold should be sold w^ithout having been 
shewn to the Wezir. 

The brokers, therefore, sold no female slave without shewing her 
to him, and he complied with the King's command, and thus he 
continued to do for a considerable time, no slave pleasing him: but 
on a certain day, one of the brokers came to the mansion of the 
Wezir El-Fadl, and found that he had mounted to repair to the 
palace of the King; and he laid hold upon his stirrup, and repeated 
these two verses : — 

O thou who hast reanimated what was rotten In the state! Thou art the 

Wezir ever aided in Heaven. 
Thou hast revived the noble qualities that were extinct among men. May 

thy conduct never cease to be approved by God! 

He then said, O my master, the female slave for the procuring of 
whom the noble mandate was issued hath arrived. The Wezir 
replied, Bring her hither to me. So the man returned, and, after a 
short absence, came again, accompanied by a damsel of elegant 
stature, high-bosomed, with black eyelashes, and smooth cheek, and 
slender waist, and large hips, clad in the handsomest apparel; the 
moisture of her lips was sweeter than syrup; her figure put to shame 
the branches of the Oriental willow; and her speech was more soft 
than the zephyr passing over the flowers of the garden; as one of 
her describers hath thus expressed: — 

Her skin is like silk, and her speech is soft, neither redundant nor 

Her eyes, God said to them, Be, — and they were, ajEfecting men's hearts 

with the potency of wine. 
May my love for her grow more warm each night, and cease not until 

the day of judgment! 
The locks on her brow are dark as night, while her forehead shines like 

the gleam of morning. 


When the Wezir beheld her, she pleased him extremely, and he 
looked towards the broker, and said to him, What is the price o£ 
this damsel? The broker answered, The price bidden for her hath 
amounted to ten thousand pieces o£ gold, and her owner hath sworn 
that this sum doth not equal the cost of the chickens which she hath 
eaten, nor the cost of the dresses which she hath bestowed upon her 
teachers; for she hath learnt writing and grammar and lexicology, 
and the interpretation of the Kur'an, and the fundamentals of law 
and religion, and medicine, and the computation of the calendar, 
and the art of playing upon musical instruments. The Wezir then 
said. Bring to me her master : — and the broker immediately brought 
him; and lo, he was a foreigner, who had lived so long that time had 
reduced him to bones and skin, as the poet hath said, — 

How hath time made me to tremble! For time Is powerful and severe. 
I used to walk without being weary; but now I am weary and do not 

And the Wezir said to him. Art thou content to receive for this 
damsel ten thousand pieces of gold from the Sultan Mohammad 
the son of Suleyman Ez-Zeyni? The foreigner answered. As she is 
for the Sultan, it is incumbent on me to give her as a present to him, 
without price. So the Wezir, upon this, ordered that thei money 
should be brought, and then weighed the pieces of gold for the 
foreigner; after which, the slave-broker addressed the Wezir, and 
said. With the permission of our lord the Wezir, I will speak. — 
Impart what thou hast to say, replied the Wezir. — It is my opinion 
then, said the broker, that thou shouldst not take up this damsel to 
the Sultan to-day; for she hath just arrived from her journey, and 
the change of air hath affected her, and the journey hath fatigued 
her; but rather let her remain with thee in thy palace ten days, that 
she may take rest, and her beauty will improve : then cause her to be 
taken into the bath, and attire her in clothes of the handsomest 
description, and go up with her to the Sultan: so shalt thou experi- 
ence more abundant good-fortune. And the Wezir considered the 
advice of the slave-broker, and approved it. He therefore took her 
into his palace, and gave her a private apartment to herself, allotting 
her every day what she required of food and drink and other sup- 
plies, and she continued a while in this state of enjoyment. 


Now the Wezir El-Fadl had a son Uke the shining full moon, 
with brilliant countenance, and red cheek, marked with a mole like 
a globule of ambergris, and with grey down. The youth knew not 
of this damsel, and his father had charged her, saying. Know that I 
have purchased thee for the King Mohammad the son of Suleyman 
Ez-Zeyni, and that I have a son who hath not left a girl in the 
quarter without making love to her : therefore keep thyself concealed 
from him, and beware of shewing him thy face, or suffering him to 
hear thy voice. The damsel replied, I hear and obey: — and he left 
her and departed. And it happened, as fate had ordained, that she 
went one day into the bath which was in the house, and, after cer- 
tain of the female slaves had bathed her, she attired herself in rich 
apparel, and her beauty and loveliness increased in consequence. 
She then went in to the Wezir's wife, and kissed her hand, and said 
to her. May it be favourable, O Enis-el-Jelis! How didst thou find 
this bath ? — O my mistress, she answered, I wanted nothing but thy 
presence there. And upon this, the mistress of the house said to the 
female slaves. Arise, and let us go into the bath. And they complied 
with her command, and went, accompanied by their mistress, who 
first charged two young slave-girls to keep the door of the private 
apartment in which was Enis-el-Jelis, saying to them. Suffer no one 
to go in to the damsel; — and they replied. We hear and obey. But 
while Enis-el-Jelis was sitting in her chamber, lo, the Wezir's son, 
whose name was 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, came in, and asked after his 
mother and the family. The two girls answered. They are gone into 
the bath. Now the damsel Enis-el-Jelis heard the speech of 'Ali Nur- 
ed-Din as she sat in her chamber, and she said within herself, I 
wonder what this youth is like, of whom the Wezir hath told me 
that he hath not left a girl in the quarter without making love to 
her: by Allah, I have a desire to see him. She then rose upon her 
feet, fresh as she was from the bath, and, approaching the door of 
the chamber, looked at 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and beheld him to be a 
youth like the full moon. The sight of him occasioned her a thou- 
sand sighs; and a look from the youth, at her, affected him also in 
the same manner. Each was caught in the snare of the other's love, 
and the youth approached the two slave-girls, and cried out at them; 
whereupon they fled from before him, and stopped at a distance, 


looking to see what he would do. He then advanced to the door of 
the chamber, and, opening it, went in, and said to the damsel. Art 
thou she whom my father hath purchased for me? She answered, 
Yes. And upon this, the youth, who was in a state of intoxication, 
went up to her, and embraced her, while she, in like manner, threw 
her arms around his neck, and kissed him. But the two slave-girls, 
having seen their young master enter the chamber of the damsel 
Enis-el-Jelis, cried out. The youth, therefore, soon ran forth, and 
fled for safety, fearing the consequence of his intrusion; and when 
the mistress of the house heard the cry of the two slave-girls, she 
came out dripping from the bath, saying. What is the cause of this 
cry in the house? And when she drew near to the two slave-girls 
whom she had placed at the door of the private chamber, she said 
to them. Wo to you! What is the matter? — They answered, as soon 
as they beheld her. Our master 'Ali Nur-ed-Din came to us and beat 
us, and we fled from him, and he went into the chamber of Enis-el- 
Jelis, and when we cried out to thee he fled. The mistress of the 
house then went to Enis-el-Jelis, and said to her. What is the news ? 
— O my mistress, she answered, as I was sitting here, a youth of hand- 
some person came in to me, and said to me. Art thou she whom my 
father hath purchased for me ? — And I answered. Yes. — By Allah, O 
my mistress, I believed that what he said was true; and he came up 
to me and embraced me, and kissed me three times, and left me 
overcome by his love. 

Upon this, the mistress of the house wept, and slapped her face, 
and her female slaves did the like, fearing for 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, lest 
his father should slay him; and while they were in this state, lo, the 
Wezir came in, and inquired what had happened. His wife said to 
him, Swear that thou wilt listen to that which I shall say. He replied, 
Well? So she told him what his son had done; and he mourned, 
and rent his clothes, and slapped his face, and plucked his beard. 
His wife then said to him, Kill not thyself. I will give thee, of my 
own property, ten thousand pieces of gold, her price. — But upon this, 
he raised his head towards her, and said to her, Wo to thee! I want 
not her price; but I fear the los^ of my life and my property. — 
Wherefore, O my master? she asked. — Knowest thou not, said he, 
that we have this enemy El-Mo'in the son of Sawi? When he 


heareth of this event, he will repair to the Sultan, and say to him, 
Thy Wezir whom thou imaginest to love thee hath received from 
thee ten thousand pieces of gold, and purchased therewith a female 
slave such as no one hath seen equalled, and when she pleased him, 
he said to his son. Take her; for thou art more worthy of her than 
the Sultan: — and he took her; and the damsel is now with him.— 
Then the King will say. Thou liest. And he will say to the King, 
With thy permission, I will break in upon him suddenly, and bring 
her to thee. And he will give him permission to do so : he will there- 
fore make a sudden attack upon the house, and take the damsel, 
and conduct her into the presence of the Sultan, and he will ques- 
tion her, and she will not be able to deny: he will then say, O my 
lord, I give thee good counsel, but I am not in favour with thee: — 
and the Sultan will make an example of me, and all the people will 
make me a gazing-stock, and my life will be lost. — His wife, how- 
ever, replied. Acquaint no one; for this thing hath happened privily: 
commit, therefore, thine affair unto God, in this extremity. And 
upon this, the heart of the Wezir was quieted, and his mind was 

Such was the case of the Wezir. — ^Now as to Nur-ed-Din, he 
feared the result of his conduct, and so passed each day in the gar- 
dens, not returning to his mother until towards the close of the 
night : he then slept in her apartment, and rose before morning with- 
out being seen by any one else. Thus he continued to do for the 
space of a month, not seeing the face of his father; and at length his 
mother said to his father, O my master, wilt thou lose the damsel and 
lose the child ? For if it long continue thus with the youth, he will 
flee his country. — ^And what is to be done? said he. She answered, 
Sit up this night, and when he cometh, lay hold upon him, and be 
reconciled to him, and give him the damsel; for she loveth him, and 
he loveth her; and I will give thee her price. So the Wezir sat up 
the whole night, and when his son came, he laid hold upon him, 
and would have cut his throat; but his mother came to his succour, 
and said to her husband. What dost thou desire to do unto him? 
He answered her, I desire to slay him. The youth then said to his 
father. Am I of so small account in thy estimation ? And upon this, 
the eyes of his father filled with tears, and he said to him, O my son. 


is the loss of my property and my life of small account with thee? — 
Listen, O my father, rejoined the youth: — and he implored his for- 
giveness. So the Wezir rose from the breast of his son, and was 
moved with compassion for him; and the youth rose, and kissed his 
father's hand; and the Wezir said, O my son, if I knew that thou 
wouldst act equitably to Enis-el-Jelis, I would give her to thee. — 

my father, repUed the youth, wherefore should I not act equitably 
towards her? And his father said, I charge thee, O my son, that 
thou take not a wife to share her place, and that thou do her no 
injury, nor sell her. He replied, O my father, I swear to thee that 

1 will neither take a wife to share her place, nor sell her: — and he 
promised him by oaths to act as he had said, and took up his abode 
with the damsel, and remained with her a year; and God (whose 
name be exalted!) caused the King to forget the affair of the female 
slave; but the matter became known to El-Mo'in the son of Sawi; 
yet he could not speak of it, on account of the high estimation in 
which the other Wezir was held by the Sultan. 

After this year had expired, the Wezir Fadl-ed-Din the son of 
Khakan entered the bath, and came out in a state of excessive per- 
spiration, in consequence of which the external air smote him, so 
that he became confined to his bed, and long remained sleepless; 
and his malady continued unremittingly; so he called, thereupon, 
his son, 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and when he came before him, said to him, 
O my son, verily the means of life are apportioned, and its period 
is decreed, and every soul must drink the cup of death. I have 
nothing with which to charge thee but the fear of God, and fore- 
thought with regard to the results of thine actions, and that thou 
conduct thyself kindly to the damsel Enis-el-Jelis. — O my father, 
said the youth, who is like unto thee? Thou hast been celebrated 
for virtuous actions, and the praying of the preachers for thee on 
the pulpits. — O my son, rejoined the Wezir, I hope for the appro- 
bation of God, whose name be exalted! And then he pronounced 
the two professions of the faith, and uttered a sigh, and was re- 
corded among the company of the blest. And upon this, the palace 
was filled with shrieking, and the news reached the ears of the 
Sultan, and the people of the city heard of the death of El-Fadl the 
son of Khakan, and even the boys in the schools wept for him. His 


son *Ali Nur-ed-Din arose, and prepared his funeral, and the Emirs 
and Wezirs and other officers of the state attended it, and among 
them was the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi; and as the pro- 
cession passed out from the mansion, one of the mourners recited 
these verses : — 

I said to the man who was appointed to wash him, — ^Would that he had 
yielded obedience to my counsel, — 

Put away from him the water, and wash him with the tears of honour, 
shed in lamentation for him: 

And remove these fragrant substances collected for his corpse, and per- 
fume him rather with the odours of his praise: 

And order the noble angels to carry him in honour. Dost thou not behold 
them attending him? 

Cause not men's necks to be strained by bearing him: enough are they 
laden already by his benefits. 

*Ali Nur-ed-Din for a long time remained in a state of violent 
grief for the loss of his father; but as he was sitting one day in his 
father's house, a person knocked at the door, and he rose up and 
opened it, and lo, there was a man who was one of his father's 
intimate companions, and he kissed the hand of Nur-ed-Din, and 
said to him, O my master, he who hath left a son like thee hath 
not died. This is the destination of the lord of the first and the last 
among mankind.^ O my master, cheer up thy heart, and give over 
mourning. — And upon this, 'Ali Nur-ed-Din arose, and went to the 
guest-chamber, and removed thither all that he required, and his 
companions came together to him, and he took again his slave. Ten 
of the sons of the merchants became his associates, and he gave 
entertainment after entertainment, and began to be lavish with pres- 
ents. His steward, therefore, came to him, and said to him, O my 
master Nur-ed-Din, hast thou not heard the saying. He who ex- 
pendeth and doth not calculate is reduced to poverty ? This profuse 
expenditure, and these magnificent presents, will annihilate the 
property. — But when 'Ali Nur-ed-Din heard these words of his 
steward, he looked at him, and replied, Of all that thou hast said 
to me, I will not attend to one word. How excellent is the saying 
of the poet: — 

^ The Prophet Mohammad. 


If I be possessed of wealth and be not liberal, may my hand never be 

extended, nor my foot raised! 
Shew me the avaricious who hath attained glory by his avarice, and the 

munificent who hath died through his munificence. 

Know, O steward, he continued, that if there remain in thy hands 
what will suffice for my dinner, thou shalt not burden me with 
anxiety respecting my supper. — So the steward left him, and went 
his way; and 'Ali Nur-ed-Din resumed his habits of extravagant 
generosity: whenever any one of his companions said, Verily this 
thing is beautiful! — he would reply. It is a present to thee: — and if 
any said, O my master, verily such a house is delightful! — he would 
reply. It is a present to thee. 

He ceased not to give entertainments to his companions from the 
commencement of day, one after another, until he had passed in 
this manner a whole year; after which, as he was sitting with them, 
he heard the slave-girl recite these two verses : — 

Thou thoughtest well of the days when they went well with thee, and 

fearedst not the evil that destiny was bringing. 
Thy nights were peaceful, and thou wast deceived by them: in the midst 

of their brightness there cometh gloom. 

And immediately after, a person knocked at the door; so Nur-ed- 
Din rose, and one of his companions followed him without his 
knowledge; and when he opened the door, he beheld his steward, 
and said to him. What is the news? — O my master, answered the 
steward, that which I feared on thy account hath happened to thee. — 
How is that? asked Nur-ed-Din. The steward answered. Know 
that there remaineth not of thy property in my hands, anything 
equivalent to a piece of silver, or less than a piece of silver; and these 
are the accounts of thy expenses, and of thy original property. When 
*Ali Nur-ed-Din heard these words, he hung down his head towards 
the ground, and exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in 
God! And the man who had followed him secretly to pry into his 
case, as soon as he heard what the steward told him, returned to his 
companions, and said to them, See what ye will do; for 'Ali Nur-ed- 
Din hath become a bankrupt. So when Nur-ed-Din returned to 
them, grief appeared to them in his countenance, and immediately 


one of them rose, and, looking towards him, said to him, O my 
master, I desire that thou wouldst permit me to depart. — Why thus 
depart to-day ? said Nur-ed-Din. His guest answered. My wife is to 
give birth to a child this night, and it is impossible for me to be 
absent from her: I desire, therefore, to go and see her. And he 
gave him leave. Then another rose, and said to him, O my master 
Nur-ed-Din, I desire to-day to visit my brother; for he celebrateth 
the circumcision of his son. Thus each of them asked leave of him 
deceitfully, and went his way, until all had departed. 

So 'Ali Nur-ed-Din remained alone; and he called his slave-girl, 
and said to her, O Enis-el-Jelis, seest thou not what hath befallen 
me? And he related to her what the steward had told him. She 
replied, O my master, for some nights past, I have been anxious 
to speak to thee of this affair; but I heard thee reciting these two 
verses : — 

When fortune is liberal to thee, be thou liberal to all others before she 

escape from thee: 
For liberality will not annihilate thy wealth when she is favourable; nor 

avarice preserve it when she deserteth thee. 

And when I heard thee repeat these words, I was silent, and would 
not make any remark to thee. — O Enis-el-Jelis, he rejoined, thou 
knowest that I have not expended my wealth but on my com- 
panions; and I do not think that they will abandon me without 
relief. — By Allah, said she, they will be of no use to thee. But he 
said, I will immediately arise and go to them, and knock at their 
doors; perhaps I shall obtain from them something which I will 
employ as a capital wherewith to trade, and I will cease from di- 
version and sport. So he arose instantly, and proceeded without 
stopping until he arrived at the by-street in which his ten com- 
panions resided; for they all lived in that same street: and he ad- 
vanced to the first door, and knocked; and there came forth to him 
a slave-girl, who said to him. Who art thou? He answered. Say to 
thy master, — 'Ali Nur-ed-Din is standing at the door, and saith to 
thee, Thy slave kisseth thy hands, looking for a favour from thee. — 
And the girl entered and acquainted her master; but he called out 
to her, saying. Return, and tell him, He is not here. — The girl, 


therefore, returned to Nur-ed-Din, and said to him, My master, Sir, 
is not here. And he went on, saying within himself. If this is a 
knave, and hath denied himself, another is not. He then advanced 
to the next door, and said as he had before; and the second also 
denied himself; and Nur-ed-Din exclaimed, — 

They are gone, who, if thou stoodest at their door, would bestow upon 
thee the bounty thou desirest. 

By Allah, he added, I must try all of them: perchance one of them 
may stand me in the place of all the others. And he went round to 
all the ten; but found not that one of them would open the door, or 
shew himself, or even order him a cake or bread; and he recited the 
following verses: — 

A man in prosperity resembleth a tree, around which people flock as 

long as it hath fruit; 
But as soon as it hath dropped all that it bore, they disperse from beneath 

it, and seek another. 
Perdition to all the people of this age! for I find not one man of integrity 

among ten. 

He then returned to his slave : his anxiety had increased, and she said 
to him, O my master, said I not unto thee that they would not 
profit thee? — By Allah, he replied, not one of them shewed me his 
face. — O my master, rejoined she, sell of the movables of the house a 
little at a time, and expend the produce. And he did so until he had 
sold all that was in the house, and there remained nothing in his 
possession; and upon this he looked towards Enis-el-Jelis, and said 
to her, What shall we do now ? — It is my advice, O my master, she 
answered, that thou arise immediately, and take me to the market, 
and sell me; for thou knowest that thy father purchased me for ten 
thousand pieces of gold, and perhaps God may open to thee a way to 
obtain a part of this price; and if God have decreed our reunion, we 
shall meet again. But he replied, O Enis-el-Jelis, it is not easy for me 
to endure thy separation for one hour. — Nor is the like easy to me, 
said she: but necessity is imperious. And upon this, he took Enis-el- 
Jelis, his tears flowing down his cheeks, and went and delivered her 
to the broker, saying to him. Know the value of that which thou art 


to cry for sale. — O my master Nur-ed-Din, replied the broker, noble 
qualities are held in remembrance. Is she not Enis-el-Jelis, whom 
thy father purchased of me for ten thousand pieces of gold? — He 
answered, Yes. And the broker thereupon went to the merchants; 
but he found that they had not all yet assembled; so he waited until 
the rest had come; and the market was filled with all varieties of 
female slaves, Turkish and Greek and Circassian and Georgian and 
Abyssinian; and when he beheld its crowded state, he arose and 
exclaimed, O merchants! O possessors of wealth! everything that is 
round is not a nut; nor is everything long, a banana; nor is every- 
thing that is red, meat; nor is everything white, fat; nor is every- 
thing that is ruddy, wine; nor is everything tawny, a date! O 
merchants! this precious pearl, whose value no money can equal, 
with what sum will ye open the bidding for her ? — And one of the 
merchants answered. With four thousand and five hundred pieces 
of gold. 

But, lo, the Wezir El-Mo*in the son of Sawi was in the market, 
and, seeing 'Ali Nur-ed-Din standing there, he said within himself. 
What doth he want here, having nothing left wherewith to purchase 
female slaves ? Then casting his eyes around, and hearing the broker 
as he stood crying in the market with the merchants around him, he 
said within himself, I do not imagine anything else than that he hath 
become a bankrupt, and come forth with the slave-girl to sell her; 
and if this be the case, how pleasant to my heart! He then called the 
crier, who approached him, and kissed the ground before him; and 
the Wezir said to him, I desire this female slave whom thou art 
crying for sale. The broker, therefore, being unable to oppose his 
wish, brought the slave and placed her before him; and when he 
beheld her, and considered her charms, her elegant figure and her soft 
speech, he was delighted with her, and said to the broker. To what 
has the bidding for her amounted? The broker answered. Four 
thousand and five hundred pieces of gold. And as soon as the 
merchants heard this, not one of them could bid another piece of 
silver or of gold; but all of them drew back, knowing the tyrannical 
conduct of that Wezir. El-Mo'in the son of Sawi then looked towards 
the broker, and said to him. Why standest thou still? Take away 
the slave-girl for me at the price of four thousand and five hundred 


pieces of gold, and thou wilt have five hundred for thyself. — So the 
broker went to 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and said to him, O my master, the 
slave-girl is lost to thee without price. — How so? said Nur-ed-Din. 
The broker answered. We opened the bidding for her at four thou- 
sand and five hundred pieces of gold; but this tyrant El-Mo'in the 
son of Sawi came into the market, and when he beheld the damsel 
she pleased him, and he said to me. Ask her owner if he will agree 
for four thousand pieces of gold, and five hundred for thee: — and 
I doubt not but he knoweth that the slave belongeth to thee; and if 
he give thee her price immediately, it will be through the goodness 
of God; but I know, from his injustice, that he will write thee an 
order upon some of his agents for the money, and' then send to 
them and desire them to give thee nothing; and every time that thou 
shalt go to demand it of them, they will say to thee. To-morrow we 
will pay thee : — and they will not cease to promise thee, and to defer 
from day to day, notwithstanding thy pride; and when they are 
overcome by thy importunity they will say, Give us the written 
order: — and as soon as they have received the paper from thee they 
will tear it in pieces : so thou wilt lose the price of the slave. 

When Nur-ed-Din, therefore, heard these words of the broker, 
he said to him. What is to be done? The broker answered, I will 
give thee a piece of advice, and if thou receive it from me, thou will 
have better fortune. — What is it? Asked Nur-ed-Din. — That thou 
come to me immediately, answered the broker, while I am stand- 
ing in the midst of the market, and take the slave-girl from me, and 
give her a blow with thy hand, and say to her. Wo to thee! I have 
expiated my oath that I swore, and brought thee to the market, be- 
cause I swore to thee that thou shouldst be exposed in the market, 
and that the broker should cry thee for sale. — If thou do this, per- 
haps the trick will deceive him and the people, and they will believe 
that thou tookest her not to the market but to expiate the oath. — 
This, replied Nur-ed-Din, is the right counsel. So the broker returned 
into the midst of the market, and, taking hold of the hand of the 
slave-girl, made a sign to the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi, 
saying, O my lord, this is her owner who hath just come. Then 
'Ali Nur-ed-Din advanced to the broker, and tore the damsel from 
him, and struck her with his hand, saying to her, Wo to thee! I 


have brought thee to the market for the sake of expiating my oath. 
Go home, and disobey me not again. I want not thy price, that I 
should sell thee; and if I sold the furniture of the house and every- 
thing else of the kind over and over again, their produce would 
not amount to thy price. — But when El-Mo'in the son of Sawi, 
beheld Nur-ed-Din, he said to him, Wo to thee! Hast thou any- 
thing left to be sold or bought? — And he would have laid violent 
hands upon him. The merchants then looked towards Nur-ed-Din 
(and they all loved him), and he said to them. Here am I before 
you, and ye have all known his tyranny. — By Allah, exclaimed the 
Wezir, were it not for you, I had killed him! Then all of them made 
signs, one to another, with the eye, and said. Not one of us will 
interfere between thee and him. And upon this, 'Ali Nur-ed-Din 
went up to the Wezir, the son of Sawi (and Nur-ed-Din was a man 
of courage), and he dragged the Wezir from his saddle, and threw 
him upon the ground. There was at that spot a kneading-place for 
mud,^ and the Wezir fell into the midst of it, and Nur-ed-Din beat 
him with his fist, and a blow fell upon his teeth, by which his beard 
became dyed with his blood. Now there were with the Wezir ten 
memluks, and when they saw Nur-ed-Din treat their master in this 
manner, they put their hands upon the hilts of their swords, and 
would have fallen upon him and cut him in pieces; but the people 
said to them. This is a Wezir, and this is the son of a Wezir, and 
perhaps they may make peace with each other, and ye will incur 
the anger of both of them; or perhaps a blow may fall upon your 
master, and ye will all of you die the most ignominious of deaths: 
it is advisable, therefore, that ye interfere not between them. — And 
when 'Ali Nur-ed-Din had ceased from beating the Wezir, he took 
his slave-girl and returned to his house. 

The Wezir, the son of Sawi, then immediately arose, and his 
dress, which before was white, was now dyed with three colours, 
the colour of mud, and the colour of blood, and the colour of ashes; 
and when he beheld himself in this condition, he took a round mat, 
and hung it to his neck, and took in his hand two bundles of coarse 

2 By this is meant, a place where mud was kneaded to be employed in building. 
The mortar generally used in the construction of Arab houses is composed of mud in 
the proportion of one-half, with a fourth part of lime, and the remaining part of the 
ashes of straw and rubbish. 


grass, and went and stood beneath the palace of the Sultan, and 
cried out, O King of the age! I am oppressed! — So they brought him 
before the King, who looked at him attentively, and saw that he 
was his Wezir, El-Mo'in the son of Sawi. He said, therefore. Who 
hath done thus unto thee? — and the Wezir cried and moaned, and 
repeated these two verses: — 

Shall fortune oppress me while thou existest; and the dogs devour me 

when thou art a lion? 
Shall all else who are dry drink freely from thy tanks, and I thirst in 

thine asylum when thou art as rain? 

— O my lord, he continued, thus is every one who loveth thee and 
serveth thee: these afflictions always befall him. — And who, said the 
King again, hath done thus unto thee ? — Know, answered the Wezir, 
that I went forth to-day to the market of the female slaves with the 
idea of buying a cook-maid, and saw in the market a slave-girl the 
like of whom I had never in my life beheld, and the broker said 
that she belonged to *Ali Nur-ed-Din. Now our lord the Sultan 
had given his father ten thousand pieces of gold to buy for him with 
it a beautiful female slave, and he bought that girl, and she pleased 
him; so he gave her to his son; and when his father died, the son 
pursued the path of prodigality, until he sold all his houses and 
gardens and utensils; and when he had become a bankrupt, noth- 
ing else remaining in his possession, he took the slave-girl to the 
market to sell her, and delivered her to the broker: so he cried her 
for sale, and the merchants continued bidding for her until her price 
amounted to four thousand pieces of gold; whereupon I said to my- 
self, I will buy this for our lord the Sultan; for her original price 
was from him. I therefore said, O my son, receive her price, four 
thousand pieces of gold. But when he heard my words, he looked 
at me and replied, O ill-omened old man! I will sell her to the Jews 
and the Christians rather than to thee. — I then said to him, I would 
not buy her for myself, but for our lord the Sultan, who is our bene- 
factor. As soon, however, as he had heard these words from me, he 
was filled with rage, and dragged me and threw me down from the 
horse, notwithstanding my advanced age, and beat me, and ceased 
not to do so until he left me in the state in which thou seest me. 


Nothing exposed me to all this ill treatment but my coming to pur- 
chase this slave-girl for your majesty. — The Wezir then threw him- 
self upon the ground, and lay weeping and trembling. 

Now when the Sultan beheld his condition, and had heard his 
speech, the vein of anger swelled between his eyes, and he looked 
towards the members of his court who were attending him; where- 
upon forty swordsmen stood before him, and he said to them. De- 
scend immediately to the house of 'Ali the son of El-Fadl the son of 
Khakan, and plunder it and demolish it, and bring hither him and 
the slave-girl with their hands bound behind them : drag them along 
upon their faces, and so bring them before me. They replied,we hear 
and obey : — and went forth to repair to the house of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din. 
But there was in the court of the Sultan a chamberlain named 'Alam- 
ed-in Senjer, who had been one of the memluks of El-Fadl the son 
of Khakan, the father of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din; and when he heard the 
order of the Sultan, and saw the enemies prepared to slay his 
master's son, it was insupportable to him; so he mounted his horse, 
and proceeded to the house of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and knocked at the 
door. Nur-ed-Din came forth to him, and, when he saw him, knew 
him, and would have saluted him; but he said, O my master, this 
is not a time for salutation, nor for talking. Nur-ed-Din said, O 
* Alam-ed-Din, what is the news ? He replied, Save thyself by flight, 
thou and the slave-girl; for El-Mo'in the son of Sawi hath set up a 
snare for you, and if ye fall into his hands he will slay you : the Sultan 
hath sent to you forty swordsmen, and it is my advice that ye fly 
before the evil fall upon you. Then Senjer stretched forth his hand 
to Nur-ed-Din with some pieces of gold, and he counted them, and 
found them to be forty pieces; and he said, O my master, receive 
these, and if I had with me more, I would give it thee; but this is not 
a time for expostulating. And upon this, Nur-ed-Din went in to the 
damsel, and acquainted her with the occurrence, and she was con- 

The two then went forth immediately from the city, and God let 
down the veil of his protection upon them, and they proceeded to 
the bank of the river, where they found a vessel ready to sail: the 
master was standing in the midst of it, and saying, He who hath 
anything to do, whether leave-taking or procuring provisions, or 


who hath forgotten aught, let him do what he desireth and return; 
for we are going. And they all replied, We have nothing remaining 
to do, O master. So, upon this, the master said to his crew. Quick! 
Loose the rope's end, and pull up the stake. — And *Ali Nur-ed-Din 
exclaimed. Whither, O master? He answered. To the abode of 
Peace, Baghdad. And Nur-ed-Din embarked, and the damsel with 
him, and they set the vessel afloat, and spread the sails and it shot 
along like a bird with its pair of wings, carrying them forward with 
a favourable wind. 

Meanwhile, the forty men whom the Sultan had sent came to the 
house of *Ali Nur-ed-Din, and broke open the doors and entered, 
and searched all the chambers, but without success; so they de- 
molished the house, and returned, and acquainted the Sultan, who 
said. Search for them in every place where they may be: — and they 
replied. We hear and obey. The Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi then 
descended to his house, after the Sultan had invested him with a 
robe of honour, and had said to him. None shall take vengeance for 
thee but myself. And he greeted the King with a prayer for long 
life, and his heart was set at ease: and the Sultan gave orders to 
proclaim throughout the city, O all ye people! our lord the Sultan 
hath commanded that whoever shall meet with *Ali Nur-ed-Din, 
and bring him to the Sultan, shall be invested with a robe of honour, 
and he will give him a thousand pieces of gold; and he who shall 
conceal him, or know where he is, and not give information thereof, 
will merit the exemplary punishment that shall befall him! So all 
the people began to search for him; but could not trace him. — Such 
was the case with these people. 

Now as to 'Ali Nur-ed-Din and his slave, they arrived in safety at 
Baghdad, and the master of the vessel said to them. This is Baghdad, 
and it is a city of security: winter with its cold hath departed from it, 
and the spring-quarter hath come with its roses, and its trees are in 
blossom, and its waters are flowing. And upon this, 'AH Nur-ed-Din 
landed with his slave-girl, and gave the master five pieces of gold. 
They then walked a little way, and destiny cast them among the 
gardens, and they came to a place which they found swept and 
sprinkled, with long mastabahs, and pots suspended filled with 
water, and over it was a covering of trellis-work of canes extending 


along the whole length o£ a lane, at the upper end of which was the 
gate of a garden; but this was shut. And Nur-ed-Din said to the 
damsel, By Allah, this is a pleasant place! — and she replied, O my 
master, let us sit down a while upon one of these mastabahs. So they 
mounted and seated themselves there, and they washed their faces 
and hands, and enjoyed the current of the zephyr, and slept. — Glory 
be to Him who sleepeth not! 

This garden was called the Garden of Delight, and in it was a 
palace called the Palace of Diversion, and it belonged to the Khalifeh 
Harun Er-Rashid, who, when his heart was contracted, used to come 
to this garden, and enter the palace above mentioned, and there sit. 
The palace had eighty latticed windows, and eighty lamps were 
suspended in it, and in the midst of it was a great candlestick of 
gold; and when the Khalifeh entered it, he commanded the female 
slaves to open the windows, and ordered Ishak, the cup-companion, 
to sing with them: so his heart became dilated, and his anxiety 
ceased. There was a superintendent to the garden, an old man, 
named the sheykh Ibrahim; and it happened that he went forth once 
to transact some business, and found there persons diverting them- 
selves with women of suspicious character, whereupon he was vio- 
lently enraged, and having waited until the Khalifeh came thither 
some days after, he acquainted him with this occurrence, and the 
Khalifeh said, Whomsoever thou shalt find at the gate of the garden, 
do with him what thou wilt. Now on this day the sheykh Ibrahim 
went out to transact an affair of business, and found the two sleep- 
ing at the garden-gate, covered with a single izar; and he said. Do 
not these two persons know that the Khalifeh hath given me per- 
mission to kill every one whom I find here? But I will only give 
these two a slight beating, that no one may again approach the 
gate of the garden. He then cut a green palm-stick, and went forth 
to them, and raised his hand until the whiteness of his arm-pit 
appeared, and was about to beat them; but he reflected in his mind, 
and said, O Ibrahim, how shouldst thou beat them when thou 
knowest not their case? They may be two strangers, or of the 
children of the road,^ whom destiny hath cast here. I will therefore 
uncover their faces, and look at them. — So he lifted up the izar from 

3 Wayfarers. 


their faces and said, These are two handsome persons, and it is not 
proper that I should beat them. And he covered their faces again, 
and, approaching the foot of *AH Nur-ed-Din, began to rub it 
gently; whereupon Nur-ed-Din opened his eyes, and saw that he was 
an old man; and he blushed, and drew in his feet, and, sitting up, 
took the hand of the sheykh Ibrahim and kissed it; and the sheykh 
said to him, O my son, whence are ye ? — O my master, he answered, 
we are strangers. — And a tear gushed from his eye. The sheykh 
Ibrahim then said to him, O my son, know that the Prophet (God 
bless and save him!) hath enjoined generosity to the stranger. Wilt 
thou not arise, O my son, and enter the garden, and divert thyself in 
it, that thy heart may be dilated? — O my master, said Nur-ed-Din, 
to whom doth this garden belong? The sheykh answered, O my 
son, this garden I inherited from my family. And his design in 
saying this was only that they might feel themselves at ease, and 
enter the garden. And when Nur-ed-Din heard his words, he 
thanked him, and arose, together with his slave, and, the sheykh 
Ibrahim preceding them, they entered the garden. 

The gate was arched, and over it were vines with grapes of dif- 
ferent colours; the red, like rubies; and the black, like ebony. They 
entered a bower, and found within it fruits growing in clusters and 
singly, and the birds were warbling their various notes upon the 
branches: the nightingale was pouring forth its melodious sounds; 
and the turtle-dove filled the place with its cooing; and the black- 
bird, in its singing, resembled a human being; and the ring-dove, a 
person exhilarated by wine. The fruits upon the trees, comprising 
every description that was good to eat, had ripened; and there were 
two of each kind: there were the camphor-apricot, and the almond- 
apricot, and the apricot of Khurasan; the plum of a colour like the 
complexion of beauties; the cherry delighting the sense of every 
man; the red, the white, and the green fig, of the most beautiful 
colours; and flowers like pearls and coral; the rose, whose redness 
put to shame the cheeks of the lovely; the violet, like sulphur in 
contact with fire; the myrtle, the gilliflower, the lavender, and the 
anemone; and their leaves were bespangled with the tears of the 
clouds; the chamomile smiled, displaying its teeth, and the narcissus 
looked at the rose with its negroes' eyes; the citrons resembled round 


cups; the limes were like bullets of gold; the ground was carpeted 
with flowers of every colour, and the place beamed with the charms 
of spring; the river murmured by while the birds sang, and the wind 
whistled among the trees; the season was temperate, and the zephyr 
was languishing. 

The sheykh Ibrahim conducted them into the elevated saloon, and 
they were charmed with its beauty and the extraordinary elegances 
which it displayed, and seated themselves in one of the windows; 
and Nur-ed-Din, reflecting upon his past entertainments, exclaimed. 
By Allah, this place is most delightful! It hath reminded me of past 
events, and quenched in me an anguish like the fire of the ghada. — 
The sheykh Ibrahim then brought to them some food, and they 
ate to satisfaction, and washed their hands, and Nur-ed-Din, seating 
himself again in one of the windows, called to his slave, and she 
came to him; and they sat gazing at the trees laden with all kinds 
of fruits; after which, Nur-ed-Din looked towards the sheykh, and 
said to him, O sheykh Ibrahim, hast thou not any beverage? For 
people drink after eating. — So the sheykh brought him some sweet 
and cold water: but Nur-ed-Din said. This is not the beverage I 
desire. — Dost thou want wine? asked the sheykh. — ^Yes, answered 
Nur-ed-Din. The sheykh exclaimed, I seek refuge with Allah from 
it! Verily, for thirteen years I have done nothing of that kind; for 
the Prophet (God bless and save him!) cursed its drinker and its 
presser and its carrier. — Hear from me two words, said Nur-ed-Din. 
The sheykh replied. Say what thou wilt. So he said. If thou be 
neither the presser of the wine, nor its drinker, nor its carrier, will 
aught of the curse fall upon thee? The sheykh answered. No. — 
Then take this piece of gold, rejoined Nur-ed-Din, and these two 
pieces of silver, and mount the ass, and halt at a distance from the 
place, and whatsoever man thou findest to buy it, call to him, and 
say to him, take these two pieces of silver, and with this piece of 
gold buy some wine, and place it upon the ass: — so, in this case, 
thou wilt be neither the carrier nor the presser, nor the buyer; and 
nothing will befall thee of that which befalleth the rest. 

The sheykh Ibrahim, after laughing at his words, replied. By 
Allah, I have never seen one more witty than thou, nor heard speech 
more sweet. And Nur-ed-Din said to him, We have become de- 


pendent upon thee, and thou hast nothing to do but to comply with 
our wishes : bring us, therefore, all that we require. — O my son, said 
the sheykh, my buttery here is before thee (and it was the store-room 
furnished for the Prince of the Faithful) : enter it then, and take 
from it what thou wilt; for it containeth more than thou desirest. 
So Nur-ed-Din entered the store-room, and beheld in it vessels of 
gold and silver and crystal, adorned with a variety of jewels; and 
he took out such of them as he desired, and poured the wine into 
the vessels of earthenware and bottles of glass; and he and the 
damsel began to drink, astonished at the beauty of the things which 
they beheld. The sheykh Ibrahim then brought to them sweet- 
scented flowers, and seated himself at a distance from them; and 
they continued drinking, in a state of the utmost delight, until the 
wine took effect upon them, and their cheeks reddened, and their 
eyes wantoned like those of the gazelle, and their hair hung down: 
whereupon the sheykh Ibrahim said. What aileth me that I am 
sitting at a distance from them? Why should I not sit by them? 
And when shall I be in the company of such as these two, who are 
like two moons ? — He then advanced, and seated himself at the edge 
of the raised portion of the floor; and Nur-ed-Din said to him, O 
my master, by my life I conjure thee to approach and join us. So 
he went to them; and Nur-ed-Din filled a cup, and, looking at the 
sheykh, said to him, Drink, that thou mayest know how delicious 
is its flavour. But the sheykh Ibrahim exclaimed, I seek refuge with 
Allah! Verily, for thirteen years I have done nothing of that kind. — 
And Nur-ed-Din, feigning to pay no attention to him, drank the 
cup, and threw himself upon the ground, pretending that intoxica- 
tion had overcome him. 

Upon this, Enis-el-Jelis looked towards the sheykh, and said to 
him, O sheykh Ibrahim, see how this man hath treated me. — O my 
mistress, said he, what aileth him? She rejoined. Always doth he 
treat me thus : he drinketh a while, and then sleepeth, and I remain 
alone, and find no one to keep me company over my cup. If I 
drink, who will serve me? And if I sing, who will hear me? — The 
sheykh, moved with tenderness and aflfection for her by her words, 
replied, It is not proper that a cup-companion be thus. The damsel 
then filled a cup, and, looking at the sheykh Ibrahim, said to him, 


I conjure thee by my life that thou take it and drink it; reject it not, 
but accept it, and refresh my heart. So he stretched forth his hand, 
and took the cup, and drank it; and she filled for him a second time, 
and handed it to him, saying, O my master, this remaineth for thee. 
He replied, By Allah, I cannot drink it : that which I have drunk is 
enough for me. But she said. By Allah, it is indispensable: — and he 
took the cup, and drank it. She then gave him the third; and he 
took it, and v^as about to drink it, when lo, Nur-ed-Din, raised him- 
self, and said to him, O sheykh Ibrahim, what is this? Did I not 
conjure thee a while ago, and thou refusedst, and saidst. Verily, for 
thirteen years I have not done it? — The sheykh Ibrahim, touched 
with shame, replied. By Allah, I am not in fault; for she pressed me. 
And Nur-ed-Din laughed, and they resumed their carousal, and 
the damsel, turning her eyes towards her master, said to him, O my 
master, drink thou, and do not urge the sheykh Ibrahim; that I 
may divert thee with the sight of him. So she began to fill and 
to hand to her master, and her master filled and gave to her, and 
thus they continued to do, time after time; till at length the sheykh 
Ibrahim looked towards them and said. What meaneth this? And 
what sort of carousal is this ? Wherefore do ye not give me to drink, 
since I have become your cup-companion? — At this they both 
laughed until they became almost senseless; and then drank, and 
gave him to drink; and they continued thus until the expiration of 
a third of the night, when the damsel said, O sheykh Ibrahim, with 
thy permission shall I rise and light one of the candles which are 
arranged here? — ^Rise, he answered; but light not more than one 
candle. But she sprang upon her feet, and, beginning with the first 
candle, proceeded until she had lighted eighty. She then sat down 
again; and presently Nur-ed-Din said, O sheykh Ibrahim, in what 
favour am I held with thee? Wilt thou not allow me to Ught one 
of these lamps ? — The sheykh answered. Arise, and light one lamp, 
and be not thou also troublesome. So he arose, and, beginning with 
the first lamp, Hghted all the eighty; and the saloon seemed to dance. 
And after this, the sheykh Ibrahim, overcome by intoxication, said 
to them, Ye are more frolicsome than I: — and he sprang upon his 
feet, and opened all the windows, and sat down again with them. 


and they continued carousing and reciting verses; and the place rang 
with their merriment. 

Now God, the All-seeing and All-knowing, who hath appointed a 
cause to every event, had decreed that the Khalifeh should be sitting 
that night at one of the windows looking towards the Tigris, by 
moonlight; and he looked in that direction, and saw the light of 
lamps and candles reflected in the river, and, turning his eyes up 
towards the palace in the garden, he beheld it beaming with those 
candles and lamps, and exclaimed. Bring hither to me Ja'far El- 
Barmeki! In the twinkling of an eye, Ja'far stood before the Prince 
of the Faithful; and the Khalifeh said to him, O dog of Wezirs, 
dost thou serve me and not acquaint me with what happeneth in 
the city of Baghdad? — ^What, asked Ja'far, is the occasion of these 
words? The Khalifeh answered. If the city of Baghdad were not 
taken from me, the Palace of Diversion were not enlivened with the 
light of the lamps and candles, and its windows were not opened. 
Wo to thee! Who could do these things unless the office of KhaHfeh 
were taken from me? — Who, said Ja'far (the muscles of his side 
quivering from fear), informed thee that the lamps and candles 
were lighted in the Palace of Diversion, and that its windows were 
opened? The Khalifeh replied, Advance hither to me, and look. So 
Ja'far approached the Khalifeh, and, looking towards the garden, 
beheld the palace as it were a flame of fire, its light surpassing that 
of the moon. He desired, therefore, to make an excuse for the 
sheykh Ibrahim, the superintendent, thinking, from what he beheld, 
that the event might have occurred through his permission: and ac- 
cordingly he said, O Prince of the Faithful, the sheykh Ibrahim last 
week said to me, O my master Ja'far, I am desirous of entertaining 
my children during my life and the life of the Prince of the Faith- 
ful. — And what, said I, is thy design in saying this? He answered. 
It is my wish that thou wouldst obtain for me permission from the 
Khalifeh that I may celebrate the circumcision of my sons in the 
palace. So I said. Do what thou wilt with respect to the entertain- 
ment of thy sons, and, if God will, I shall have an interview with 
the Khalifeh, and will acquaint him with it. And he left me thus; 
and I forgot to acquaint thee. — O Ja'far, said the Khalifeh, thou wast 


guilty of one oflFence against me, and then thine oflence became two: 
for thou hast erred in two points : the first, thy not acquainting me 
with this affair; and the second, thy not accompHshing the desire 
of the sheykh Ibrahim; for he did not come to thee and address thee 
with these words but to hint a request for some money by the aid 
of which to effect his design, and thou neither gavest him anything 
nor acquaintedst me that I might give him. — O Prince of the Faith- 
ful, replied Ja'far, I forgot. 

The Khalifeh then said, By my forefathers, I will not pass the 
remainder of my night but with him, for he is a just man, who 
frequenteth the sheykhs, and attendeth to the poor, and favoureth 
the indigent; and I imagine all his acquaintances are with him this 
night : so I must repair to him : perhaps one of them may offer up for 
us a prayer productive of good to us in this world and the next; and 
probably some advantage may accrue to him from my presence, and 
he will receive pleasure from this, together with his friends. — O 
Prince of the Faithful, replied Ja'far, the greater part of the night 
hath passed, and they are now about to disperse. But the Khalifeh 
said. We must go to them. And Ja'far was silent, and was per- 
plexed in his mind, not knowing what to do. So the Khalifeh rose 
upon his feet, and Ja'far rose and preceded him, and Mesrur the 
eunuch went with them. The three walked on reflecting, and, de- 
parting from the palace, proceeded through the streets, in the attire 
of merchants, until they arrived at the gate of the garden above 
mentioned; and the Khalifeh, approaching it, found it open; and 
he was surprised, and said, See, O Ja'far, how the sheykh Ibrahim 
hath left the gate open until this hour, which is not his usual custom. 
They then entered, and came to the end of the garden, where they 
stopped beneath the palace; and the KhaHfeh said, O Ja'far, I desire 
to take a view of them secretly before I go up to them, that I may 
see how the sheykhs are occupied in the dispensing of their bless- 
ings and the employment of their miraculous powers; for they have 
qualities which distinguish them both in their private retirements 
and in their public exercises; and now we hear not their voices, nor 
discover any indication of their presence. Having thus said, he looked 
around, and, seeing a tall walnut-tree, he said, O Ja'far, I would 
climb this tree (for its branches are near to the windows) and look 


at them. And accordingly he ascended the tree, and cUmbed from 
branch to branch until he came to that which was opposite to one 
of the windows, and there he sat, and, looking in through this 
window of the palace, beheld a damsel and a young man, like two 
moons (extolled be the perfection of Him who created them!) ; and 
he saw the sheykh Ibrahim sitting with a cup in his hand, and say- 
ing, O mistress of beauties, drinking unaccompanied by merry 
sounds is not pleasant. Hast thou not heard the saying of the poet ? — 

Circulate it in the large cup, and in the small; and receive it from the 

hand of the shining moon;'* 
And drink not without merry sounds; for I have observed that horses 

drink to the sound of whistling. 

When the Khalifeh witnessed this conduct of the sheykh Ibrahim, 
the vein of anger swelled between his eyes, and he descended, and 
said, O Ja far, I have never seen anything of the miraculous per- 
formances of the just such as I have beheld this night: ascend, there- 
fore, thyself also, into this tree, and look, lest the blessings of the 
just escape thee. — On hearing the words of the Prince of the Faith- 
ful, Ja'far was perplexed at his situation; and he climbed up into 
the tree, and looked, and saw Nur-ed-Din and the sheykh Ibrahim 
and the damsel, and the sheykh Ibrahim had the cup in his hand. 
As soon as he beheld this, he made sure of destruction; and he de- 
scended, and stood before the Prince of the Faithful, and the Khali- 
feh said, O Ja'far, praise be to God who hath made us to be of the 
number of those who follow the external ordinances of the holy 
law, and averted from us the sin of disguising ourselves by the 
practice of hypocrisy! But Ja'far was unable to reply, from his ex- 
cessive confusion. The Khalifeh then looked towards him, and said, 
Who can have brought these persons hither, and admitted them into 
my palace? But the Hke of this young man and this damsel, in 
beauty and loveliness and symmetry of form, mine eye hath never 
beheld. — Ja'far, now conceiving a hope that the Khalifeh might be 
propitiated, replied, Thou hast spoken truly, O Prince of the Faith- 
ful. And the Khalifeh said, O Ja'far, climb up with us upon this 
branch which is opposite them, that we may amuse ourselves by ob- 

^The cupbearer. 


serving them. So they both cUmbed up into the tree, and, looking at 
them, heard the sheykh Ibrahim say, O my mistress, I have re- 
linquished decorum by the drinking o£ wine; but the pleasure of 
this is not complete without the melodious sounds of stringed instru- 
ments. — O sheykh Ibrahim, replied Enis-el-Jelis, by Allah, if we had 
any musical instrument, our happiness were perfect. And when the 
sheykh Ibrahim heard her words, he rose upon his feet.— The 
Khalifeh said to Ja'f ar. What may he be going to do ? Ja'f ar replied, 
I know not. — And the sheykh Ibrahim went away, and returned 
with a lute; and the Khalifeh, looking attentively at it, saw that it 
was the lute of Ishak the cup-companion; and said. By Allah, if 
this damsel sing not well, I will crucify you all; but if she sing well, 
I will pardon them, and crucify thee. So Ja far said, O Allah, let 
her not sing well! — ^Why? asked the Khalifeh. — That thou mayest 
crucify all of us, answered Jafar; and then we shall cheer one an- 
other by conversation. And the Khalifeh laughed: and the damsel 
took the lute, and tuned its strings, and played upon it in a manner 
that would melt iron, and inspire an idiot with intellect; after which 
she sang with such sweetness that the Khalifeh exclaimed, O Ja'far, 
never in my life have I heard so enchanting a voice as this! — Perhaps, 
said Jafar, the anger of the Khalifeh hath departed from him?— 
Yea, he answered; it hath departed. He then descended with Ja'far 
from the tree, and, looking towards him, said, I am desirous of going 
up to them, to sit with them, and to hear the damsel sing before 
me. — O Prince of the Faithful, replied Ja'far, if thou go up to them, 
probably they will be troubled by thy presence; and as to the sheykh 
Ibrahim, he will assuredly die of fear. The Khalifeh therefore said, 
O Ja'far, thou must acquaint me with some stratagem by means of 
which I may learn the truth of the affair without their knowing 
that I have discovered them. And he and Ja'far walked towards 
the Tigris, reflecting upon this matter; and lo, a fisherman stood be- 
neath the windows of the palace, and he threw his net, hoping to 
catch something by means of which to obtain his subsistence.— Now 
the KhaHfeh had, on a former occasion, called to the sheykh Ibrahim, 
and said to him, What was that noise that I heard beneath the win- 
dows of the palace ? — and he answered. The voices of the fishermen, 
who are fishing:— so he said. Go down and forbid them from coming 


to this place. They were therefore forbidden to come thither; but 
this night there came a fisherman named Kerim, and, seeing the 
garden-gate open, he said within himself. This is a time of in- 
advertence, and perhaps I may catch some fish on this occasion: — 
so he took his net, and threw it into the river, and then recited some 
verses, contrasting the condition of the poor fisherman, toiling 
throughout the night, with that of the lord of the palace, who, 
awaking from a pleasant slumber, findeth the fawn in his possession; 
and as soon as he had finished his recitation, lo, the Khalifeh, un- 
attended, stood at his head. The Khalifeh knew him, and exclaimed, 
O Kerim! — and the fisherman, hearing him call him by his name, 
turned towards him; and when he beheld the Khalifeh, the muscles 
of his side quivered, and he said. By Allah, O Prince of the Faith- 
ful, I did not this in mockery of the mandate; but poverty and the 
wants of my family impelled me to the act of which thou art witness. 
The Khalifeh replied. Throw thy net for my luck. And the fisher- 
man advanced, rejoicing exceedingly, and cast the net, and, having 
waited until it had attained its limit and become steady at the 
bottom, drew it in again, and there came up in it a variety of fish 
that could not be numbered. 

The Khalifeh was delighted at this, and said, O Kerim, strip of! 
thy clothes: — and he did so. He was clad in a jubbeh^ in which were 
a hundred patches of coarse woollen stuff, containing vermin of 
the most abominable kind, and among them fleas in such numbers 
that he might almost have been transported by their means over the 
face of the earth; and he took from his head a turban which for 
three years he had never unwound; but when he happened to 
find a piece of rag he twisted it around it: and when he had taken 
off the jubbeh and the turban, the Khalifeh pulled of? from his own 
person two vests of silk of Alexandria and Ba'lbekk, and a mel- 
watah® and a farajiyeh, and said to the fisherman, Take these, and 
put them on. The Khalifeh then put on himself the fisherman's 
jubbeh and turban, and, having drawn a litham^ over his face, said 
to the fisherman, Go about thy business; — and he kissed the feet of 
the Khalifeh, and thanked him, reciting these two verses: — 

^ A long outer coat with sleeves nearly reaching to the wrist. 

^ A jubbeh or dress of costly material. 

^ [The Bedawi muffler, made by the end of the head -kerchief.] 


Thou hast granted me favours beyond my power to acknowledge, and 

completely satisfied all my wants. 
I will thank thee, therefore, as long as I live, and when I die my bones 

will thank thee in their grave. 

But scarcely had he finished his verses, when the vermin overran 
the person of the Khalifeh, and he began to seize them with his 
right hand and his left from his neck, and to throw them down; 
and he exclaimed, O fisherman, wo to thee! What are these abund- 
ant vermin in this jubbeh? — O my lord, he answered, at present they 
torment thee; but when a week shall have passed over thee, thou 
wilt not feel them, nor think of them. The Khalifeh laughed, and 
said to him, How can I suffer this jubbeh to remain upon me? The 
fisherman replied, I wish to tell thee something; but I am ashamed, 
through my awe of the Khalifeh. — Impart, said the Khalifeh, what 
thou hast to tell me. So he said to him. It hath occurred to my mind, 

Prince of the Faithful, that thou desirest to learn the art of fishing, 
in order that thou mayest be master of a trade that may profit thee; 
and if such be thy desire, this jubbeh is suitable to thee. And the 
Khahfeh laughed at his words. 

The fisherman then went his way, and the KhaHfeh took the 
basket of fish, and, having put upon it a little grass, went with it 
to Ja'far, and stood before him; and Ja'far, thinking that he was 
Kerim the fisherman, feared for him, and said, O Kerim, what 
brought thee hither? Save thyself by flight; for the Khalifeh is 
here this night. — And when the Khalifeh heard the words of Ja'far, 
he laughed until he fell down upon his back. So Ja'far said. Perhaps 
thou art our lord the Prince of the Faithful? — ^Yes, O Ja'far, an- 
swered the Khalifeh, and thou art my Wezir, and I came with thee 
hither, and thou knowest me not. How then should the sheykh 
Ibrahim know me when he is drunk ? Remain where thou art until 

1 return to thee. — Ja'far replied, I hear and obey : — and the Khalifeh 
advanced to the door of the palace, and knocked. The sheykh 
Ibrahim arose, therefore, and said, Who is at the door ? He answered, 
I, O sheykh Ibrahim. The sheykh said. Who art thou? — and the 
Khahfeh answered, I am Kerim the fisherman: I heard that there 
were guests with thee, and have therefore brought thee some fish; 
for it is excellent. — Now Nur-ed-Din and the damsel were both 


fond o£ fish, and when they heard the mention of it they rejoiced 
exceedingly, and said, O my master, open to him, and let him come 
in to us with the fish which he hath brought. So the sheykh Ibrahim 
opened the door, and the Khalifeh, in his fisherman's disguise, en- 
tered, and began by salutation; and the sheykh Ibrahim said to him, 
Welcome to the robber, the thief, the gambler! Come hither, and 
shew us the fish which thou hast brought. — He therefore shewed it to 
them; and lo, it was alive, and moving; and the damsel exclaimed. 
By Allah, O my master, this fish is excellent! I wish it were fried! — 
By Allah, said the sheykh Ibrahim, thou hast spoken truth. Then, 
addressing the KhaUfeh, he said, O fisherman, I wish thou hadst 
brought this fish fried. Arise, and fry it for us, and bring it. — On the 
head be thy commands, replied the Khalifeh : I will fry it, and bring 
it. — Be quick, said they, in doing it. 

The Khalifeh therefore arose and ran back to Ja*far, and said, O 
Ja'far, they want the fish fried. — O Prince of the Faithful, replied 
he, give it me, and I will fry it. But the Khalifeh said. By the tombs 
of my ancestors, none shall fry it but myself: with my own hand will 
I do it! He then repaired to the hut of the superintendent, and, 
searching there, found in it everything that he required, the frying- 
pan, and even the salt, and wild marjoram, and other things. So he 
approached the fire-place, and put on the frying-pan, and fried it 
nicely; and when it was done, he put it upon a banana-leaf, and^ 
having taken from the garden some limes, he went up with the fish, 
and placed it before them. The young man, therefore, and the 
damsel and the sheykh Ibrahim advanced and ate; and when they 
had finished, they washed their hands, and Nur-ed-Din said. By 
Allah, O fisherman, thou hast done us a kindness this night. Then 
putting his hand into his pocket, he took forth for him three pieces 
of gold, of those which Senjer had presented to him when he was 
setting forth on his journey, and said, O fisherman, excuse me; for, 
by Allah, if I had known thee before the events that have lately 
happened to me, I would have extracted the bitterness of poverty 
from thy heart; but take this as accordant with my present circum- 
stances. So saying, he threw the pieces of gold to the Khalifeh, who 
took them, and kissed them, and put them in his pocket. The 
object of the Khalifeh in doing this was only that he might hear the 


damsel sing: so he said to him, Thou hast treated me with benefi- 
cence, and abundantly recompensed me; but I beg of thy unbounded 
indulgence that this damsel may sing an air, that I may hear her. 
Nur-ed-Din therefore said, O Enis-el-Jelis! She replied. Yes. — By my 
life, said he, sing to us something for the gratification of this fisher- 
man; for he desireth to hear thee. And when she had heard what 
her master said, she took the lute, and tried it with her fingers, 
after she had twisted its pegs, and sang to it these two verses: — 

The fingers of many a fawn-like damsel have played upon the lute, and 

the soul hath been ravished by the touch. 
She hath made the deaf to hear her songs; and the dumb hath exclaimed, 

Thou hast excelled in thy singing! 

Then she played again, in an extraordinary manner, so as to charm 
the minds of her hearers, and sang the following couplet: — 

We are honoured by your visiting our abode, and your splendour hath 

dispelled the darkness of the moonless night: 
It is therefore incumbent upon me to perfume my dwelling with musk 

and rosewater and camphor. 

Upon this, the Khalifeh was affected with violent emotion, and 
overcome by ecstasy, so that he was no longer master of himself 
from excessive delight; and he began to exclaim, Allah approve 
thee! Allah approve thee! Allah approve thee! So Nur-ed-Din said 
to him, O fisherman, have the damsel and her art in striking the 
chords pleased thee? — ^Yea, by Allah! exclaimed the Khalifeh. And 
Nur-ed-Din immediately said. She is bestowed upon thee as a pres- 
ent from me, the present of a generous man who will not revoke his 
gift. And he rose upon his feet, and took a melwatah, and threw it 
upon the Khalifeh in the fisherman's disguise, ordering him to 
depart with the damsel. But she looked towards him, and said, O 
my master, wilt thou part from me without bidding me farewell? 
If we must be separated, pause while I take leave of thee. — And she 
recited the following couplet : — 

If you depart from me, still your abode will be in my heart, in the recess 

of my bosom. 
I implore the Compassionate to grant our reunion; and a boon such as 

this, God will grant to whom He pleaseth. 


And when she had finished, Nur-ed-Din thus replied to hen- 
She bade me farewell on the day of separation, saying, while she wept 

from the pain that it occasioned, 
What wilt thou do after my departure? — Say this, I replied, unto him 

who will survive it. 

The Khalifeh, when he heard this, was distressed at the thought 
of separating them, and, looking towards the young man, he said 
to him, O my master, art thou in fear on account of any crime, or 
art thou in debt to any one? Nur-ed-Din answered. By Allah, O 
fisherman, a wonderful event, and an extraordinary adventure, hap- 
pened to me and this damsel: if it were engraved on the understand- 
ing, it would be a lesson to him who would be admonished. — Wilt 
thou not, rejoined the Khalifeh, relate to us thy story, and acquaint 
us with thy case? Perhaps thy doing so may be productive of relief; 
for the relief of God is near. — So Nur-ed-Din said. Wilt thou hear 
our story in poetry or in prose? — Prose, answered the Khalifeh, is 
mere talk; and verse, words put together like pearls. And Nur-ed- 
Din hung down his head towards the ground, and then related his 
story in a series of verses; but when he had finished, the Khalifeh 
begged him to explain his case more fully. He therefore acquainted 
him with the whole of his circumstances from beginning to end; 
and when the Khalifeh understood the aflFair, he said to him, 
Whither wouldst thou now repair? He answered, God's earth is 
wide. The Khalifeh then said to him, I will write for thee a letter 
which thou shalt convey to the Sultan Mohammad the son of Suley- 
man Ez-Zeyni, and when he shall have read it, he will do thee no 
injury. — Is there in the world, said Nur-ed-Din, a fisherman who 
correspondeth with Kings? Verily this is a thing that can never 
be. — Thou hast spoken truly, rejoined the Khalifeh; but I will ac- 
quaint thee with the cause. Know that I read in the same school 
with him, under a master, and I was his monitor; and after that, 
prosperity was his lot, and he became a Sultan, while God made me 
to be a fisherman : yet I have never sent to request anything of him, 
but he hath performed my wish; and if I sent to him every day to 
request a thousand things of him, he would do what I asked. When 
Nur-ed-Din, therefore, heard his words, he said to him, Write, that 


I may see. And he took an ink-horn and a pen, and wrote (after 
the phrase, In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.) — 
To proceed. — This letter is from Harun Er-Rashid the son of El- 
Mahdi, to his highness Mohammad the son of Suleyman Ez-Zeyni, 
who hath been encompassed by my beneficence, and whom I con- 
stituted my viceroy of a portion of my dominions. I acquaint thee 
that the bearer of this letter is Nur-ed-Din the son of El-Fadl the 
son of Khakan the Wezir, and on his arrival in thy presence thou 
shalt divest thyself of the regal authority, and seat him in thy place; 
for I have appointed him to the office to which I formerly ap- 
pointed thee: so disobey not my commands: and peace be on thee. — 
He then gave the letter to 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, who took it and 
kissed it and put it in his turban, and immediately set forth on his 

The sheykh Ibrahim now looked towards the Khalifeh in his 
fisherman's disguise, and said to him, O most contemptible of fish- 
ermen, thou hast brought us two fish worth twenty half-dirhems, 
and received three pieces of gold, and desirest to take the slave also. 
But when the Khalifeh heard these words, he cried out at him, and 
made a sign to Mesrur, who immediately discovered himself, and 
rushed in upon him. Ja'far, meanwhile, had sent one of the attendants 
of the garden to the porter of the palace to demand a suit of clothing 
of him for the Prince of the Faithful; and the man went, and 
brought the dress, and kissed the ground before the Khalifeh, who 
took off and gave to him that with which he was then clad, and put 
on this suit. The sheykh Ibrahim was sitting on a chair : the Khalifeh 
paused to see the result: and the sheykh was astounded, and began 
to bite the ends of his fingers through his confusion, saying. Am 
I asleep or awake? The Khalifeh then looked at him, and said, O 
sheykh Ibrahim, what is this predicament in which thou art placed ? 
And upon this, the sheykh recovered from his intoxication, and, 
throwing himself upon the ground, implored forgiveness: and the 
Khalifeh pardoned him; after which he gave orders that the damsel 
should be conveyed to the palace where he resided; and .when she 
had arrived there, he appropriated to her a separate lodging, and 
appointed persons to wait upon her, and said to her, Know that I 
have sent thy master as Sultan of El-Basrah, and, if God please, I 


will despatch to him a dress o£ honour, and send thee also to him 
with it. 

As to Nur-ed-Din, he continued his journey until he entered El- 
Basrah, and went up to the palace o£ the Sultan, when he uttered 
a loud cry, whereupon the Sultan desired him to approach; and 
when he came into the presence of the King, he kissed the ground 
before him, and produced the letter, and handed it to him. And as 
soon as the Sultan saw the superscription in the handwriting of the 
Prince of the Faithful, he rose upon his feet, and, having kissed it 
three times, said, I hear and pay obedience to God (whose name be 
exalted!) and to the Prince of the Faithful. He then summoned 
before him the four Kadis,^ and the Emirs, and was about to divest 
himself of the regal office: but, lo, the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of 
Sawi was before him, and the Sultan gave him the letter of the 
Prince of the Faithful, and when he saw it, he rent it in pieces, and 
put it into his mouth, and chewed it, and threw it down. The 
Sultan, enraged, cried. Wo to thee! What hath induced thee to 
act thus ? — He answered. This man hath had no interview with the 
Khalifeh nor with his Wezir; but is a young wretch, an artful devil, 
who, having met with a paper containing the handwriting of the 
Khalifeh, hath counterfeited it, and written what he desired : where- 
fore then shouldst thou abdicate the sovereignty, when the Khalifeh 
hath not sent to thee an envoy with a royal autographical mandate; 
for if this affair were true, he had sent with him a Chamberlain or a 
Wezir; but he came alone. — What then is to be done? said the Sul- 
tan. The Wezir answered. Send away this young man with me, and 
I will take charge of him, and despatch him in company with a 
Chamberlain to the city of Baghdad; and if his words be true, he 
will bring us a royal autographical mandate and diploma of in- 
vestiture; and if not true, they will send him back to us with the 
Chamberlain, and I will take my revenge upon my offender. 

When the Sultan heard what the Wezir said, it pleased him; and 
the Wezir took him away, and cried out to the pages, who threw 
down Nur-ed-Din, and beat him until he became insensible. He 
then ordered to put a chain upon his feet, and called to the jailer; 
and when he came, he kissed the ground before him. This jailer 
* Of the four orthodox sects. 


was named Kuteyt; and the Wezir said to him, O Kuteyt, I desire 
that thou take this person, and cast him into one of the subter- 
ranean cells which are in thy prison, and torture him night and day. 
The jailer replied, I hear and obey: — and he put Nur-ed-Din into 
the prison, and locked the door upon him; but after having done 
this, he gave orders to sweep a mastabah within the door, and 
furnished it with a prayer-carpet and a pillow, and seated Nur-ed- 
Din upon it, and loosed his chain, and treated him with kindness. 
The Wezir every day sent to him, commanding him to beat him; 
and the jailer pretended that he tortured him, while, on the con- 
trary, he treated him with benignity. 

Thus he continued to do for forty days; and on the forty-first day, 
there came a present from the Khalifeh, and when the Sultan saw it, 
it pleased him, and he conferred with the Wezirs upon the subject; 
but one said, Perhaps this present was designed for the new Sultan. 
Upon this, the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi remarked. It were 
proper to have slain him on his arrival: — and the Sultan exclaimed, 
Now thou hast reminded me of him, go down and bring him, and I 
will strike off his head. The Wezir replied, I hear and obey: — and 
arose, saying, I desire to proclaim throughout the city. He who 
wisheth to witness the decapitation of Nur-ed-Din 'Ali the son of 
El-Fadl the son of Khakan, let him come to the palace : — so that all 
the people may come to behold it, and I may gratify my heart, and 
mortify my enviers. The Sultan said, Do what thou wilt. So the 
Wezir descended, full of joy and happiness, and went to the WaH, 
and ordered him to make this proclamation; and when the people 
heard the crier, they all grieved and wept, even the boys in the 
schools, and the tradesmen in their shops; and numbers of the people 
strove together to take for themselves places where they might 
behold the spectacle, while others repaired to the prison, to accom- 
pany him thence. The Wezir then went forth, attended by ten mem- 
luks, to the prison: and Kuteyt the jailer said to him. What dost 
thou desire, O our lord the Wezir? — Bring forth to me, said the 
Wezir, this young wretch. The jailer replied. He is in a most 
miserable state from the excessive beating that I have inflicted upon 
him. And he entered, and found him reciting some verses, com- 
mencing thus: — 


Who is there to aid me in my affliction? For my pain hath become in- 
tense, and my remedy is scarce procurable! 

And the jailer pulled of? from him his clean clothes, and, having 
clad him in two dirty garments, brought him out to the Wezir. 
Nur-ed-Din then looked at him, and saw that he was his enemy who 
had incessantly desired his destruction; and when he beheld him, 
he wept, and said to him, Art thou secure from misfortune? Hast 
thou not heard the saying of the poet ? — 

They made use of their power, and used It tyrannically; and soon it 
became as though it never had existed. 

O Wezir, know that God (whose perfection be extolled, and whose 
name be exalted!) is the doer of whatsoever He willeth. — O 'AU, 
repUed the Wezir, wouldst thou frighten me by these words ? I am 
now going to strike off thy head, in spite of the people of El-Basrah; 
and I will pay no regard to thy counsel; but I will rather attend to 
the saying of the poet: — 

Let fortune do whatever it willeth, and bear with cheerful mind the 
effects of fate. 

How excellent also is the saying of another poet: — 

He who liveth after his enemy a single day, hath attained his desire. 

The Wezir then ordered his pages to convey him on the back of 
a mule; whereupon they said to him (being distressed to obey). 
Suffer us to stone him and cut him in pieces, though our lives should 
be sacrificed in consequence. But he replied. Never do it. Have ye 
not heard what the poet hath said : — 

A decreed term is my inevitable lot; and as soon as its days have expired, 

I die. 
If the lions dragged me into their forest, they could not close it while 

aught of it remained. 

So they proceeded to proclaim before Nur-ed-Din, This is the 
smallest recompense of him who forgeth a letter from the Khalifeh 
to the Sultan. And they continued to parade him throughout El- 
Basrah until they stationed him beneath the window of the palace, 


and in the place of blood, when the executioner approached him, 
and said to him, I am a slave under command; and if thou hast 
any want, acquaint me with it, that I may perform it for thee; for 
there remaineth not of thy life any more than the period until the 
Sultan shall put forth his face from the window. And upon this, 
Nur-ed-Din looked to the right and left, and recited these verses: — 

Is there among you a merciful friend, who will aid me? I conjure you 

by Allah to answer me! 
My life hath passed, and my death is at hand! Is there any who will 

pity me, to obtain my recompense, 
And consider my state, and relieve my anguish, by a draught of water 

that my torment may be lightened? 

And the people were excited to tears for him; and the executioner 
took some water to hand it to him; but the Wezir arose from his 
place, and struck the kulleh^ of water with his hand, and broke it, 
and called to the executioner, commanding him to strike off his 
head; whereupon he bound Nur-ed-Din's eyes. The people, how- 
ever, called out against the Wezir, and raised a tumultuous cry 
against him, and many words passed between them; and while they 
were in this state, lo, a dust rose, and filled the sky and the open 
tracts; and when the Sultan beheld it, as he sat in the palace, he 
said to his attendants. See what is the news. The Wezir said. After 
thou shalt first have beheaded this man. But the Sultan repUed, 
Wait thou until we see what is the news. 

Now this dust was the dust of Ja'far, the Wezir of the Khahfeh, 
and of his attendants; and the cause of their coming was this: — The 
Khalifeh had passed thirty days without remembering the affair of 
*Ali the son of El-Fadl the son of Khakan, and no one mentioned 
it to him, until he came one night to the private apartment of Enis- 
el-Jelis, and heard her lamenting, as she recited, with a soft voice, 
the saying of the poet : — 

Thine image [is before me] whether distant or near, and my tongue 
never ceaseth to mention thee. 

Her lamentation increased, and lo, the Khalifeh opened the door, 
and entered the chamber, and saw Enis-el-Jelis weeping. On be- 

^A small porous earthen bottle with a wide mouth. 


holding the KhaUfeh, she fell at his feet, and, having kissed them 
three times, recited these two verses : — 

thou of pure origin, and of excellent birth; of ripe-fruitful branch, and 

of unsullied race! 

1 remind thee of the promise thy beneficence granted, and far be it from 

thee that thou shouldst forget it. 

The Khalifeh said to her, Who art thou? She answered, I am the 
present given to thee by 'AU the son of El-Fadl the son of Khakan; 
and I request the fulfilment of the promise which thou gavest me, 
that thou wouldst send me to him with the honorary gift; for I 
have now been here thirty days and have not tasted sleep. And upon 
this, the Khalifeh summoned Ja'far El-Barmeki, and said to him, 
For thirty days I have heard no news of 'Ali the son of El-Fadl the 
son of Khakan, and I imagine nothing less than that the Sultan 
hath killed him: but, by my head! by the tombs of my ancestors! 
if any evil event have happened to him, I will destroy him who hath 
been the cause of it, though he be the dearest of men in my estima- 
tion! I desire, therefore, that thou journey immediately to El- 
Basrah, and bring me an account of the conduct of the King Mo- 
hammad the son of Suleyman Ez-Zeyni to 'Ali the son of El-Fadl 
the son of Khakan. 

So Ja*far obeyed his commands, and set forth on his journey, and 
when he approached, and saw this tumult and crowd, he said. What 
is the occasion of this crowd? They related to him, therefore, the 
situation in which they were with regard to Nur-ed-Din; and when 
he heard their words, he hastened to go up to the Sultan, and, 
having saluted him, acquainted him with the cause of his coming, 
and told him, that if any evil event had happened to *Ali Nur-ed- 
Din, the Khalifeh would destroy him who was the cause of it. He 
then arrested the Sultan, and the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi, 
and gave orders to liberate *Ali Nur-ed-Din, and enthroned him as 
Sultan in the place of the Sultan Mohammad the son of Suleyman 
Ez-Zeyni; after which he remained in El-Basrah three days, the 
usual period of entertainment; and on the morning of the fourth 
day, *Ali Nur-ed-Din said to Ja'far, I have a longing desire to see 
the Prince of the Faithful. So Ja'far said to the King Mohammad 
the son of Suleyman, Prepare thyself for travelling; for we will per- 


form the morning-prayers, and depart to Baghdad. He repHed, I 
hear and obey: — and they performed the morning-prayers, and 
mounted all together, with the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi, 
who now repented of what he had done. As to 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, he 
rode by the side of Ja'far: and they continued their journey until 
they arrived at Baghdad, the Abode of Peace. 

They then presented themselves before the Khalifeh and related 
to him the case of Nur-ed-Din; whereupon the Khalifeh addressed 
him, saying, Take this sword, and strike off with it the head of 
thine enemy. And he took it, and approached El-Mo'in the son of 
Sawi; but he looked at him, and said to him, I did according to my 
nature, and do thou according to thine. And Nur-ed-Din threw 
down the sword from his hand, and, looking towards the Khalifeh, 
said, O Prince of the Faithful, he hath beguiled me. So the Khalifeh 
said. Do thou leave him: — and he said to Mesrur, O Mesrur, ad- 
vance thou, and strike off his head. Mesrur, therefore, did so: and 
upon this, the Khalifeh said to 'Ali the son of El-Fadl the son of 
Khakan, Request of me what thou wilt. He replied, O my lord, 
I have no want of the sovereignty of El-Basrah, and desire nothing 
but to have the honour of serving thee. — Most willingly I assent, 
said the Khalifeh: — and he summoned the damsel, and when she 
had come before him, he bestowed favours upon them both : he gave 
to them one of the palaces of Baghdad, and assigned to them regular 
allowances, and made Nur-ed-Din one of his companions at the 
table; and he remained with him until death overtook him. 

[Nights 537-566] 
The Story of Es-Sindibad of the Sea and Es-Sindibad of the Land 

THERE was, in the time of Khalifeh, the Prince of the 
Faithful, Harun Er-Rashid, in the city of Baghdad, a man 
called Es-Sindibad the Porter. He was a man in poor cir- 
cumstances, who bore burdens for hire upon his head. And it hap- 
pened to him that he bore one day a heavy burden, and that day was 
excessively hot; so he was wearied by the load, and perspired pro- 
fusely, the heat violently oppressing him. In this state he passed by 
the door of a merchant, the ground before which was swept and 
sprinkled, and there the air was temperate; and by the side of the 
door was a wide mastabah. The porter therefore put down his 
burden upon that mastabah, to rest himself, and to scent the air; and 
when he had done so, there came forth upon him, from the door, a 
pleasant, gentle gale, and an exquisite odour, wherewith the porter 
was delighted. He seated himself upon the edge of the mastabah, 
and heard in that place the melodious sounds of stringed instruments, 
with the lute among them, and mirth-exciting voices, and varieties 
of distinct recitations. He heard also the voices of birds, warbling, 
and praising God (whose name be exalted!) with diverse tones and 
with all dialects; consisting of turtle-doves and hezars and blackbirds 
and nightingales and ring-doves and kirawans;^ whereupon he 
wondered in his mind, and was moved with great delight. He 
then advanced to that door, and found within the house a great 
garden, wherein he beheld pages and slaves and servants and other 
dependants, and such things as existed not elsewhere save in the 
abodes of Kings and Sultans; and after that, there blew upon him 
the odour of delicious, exquisite viands, of all different kinds, and 
of delicious wine. 

Upon this he raised his eyes towards heaven, and said. Extolled 
be thy perfection, O Lord! O Creator! O Supplier of the con- 
^Or karawan: stone-curlew. 


veniences of life! Thou suppliest whom Thou wilt without reckon- 
ing! O Allah, I implore thy forgiveness of all oflences, and turn to 
Thee repenting of all faults! O Lord, there is no animadverting 
upon Thee with respect to thy judgment, and thy power; for Thou 
art not to be questioned regarding that which Thou doest, and Thou 
art able to do whatsoever Thou wilt! Extolled be thy perfection! 
Thou enrichest whom Thou wilt, and whom Thou wilt Thou 
impoverishest! Thou magniiiest whom Thou wilt, and whom Thou 
wilt Thou abasest! There is no deity but Thou! How great is thy 
dignity! and how mighty is thy dominion! and how excellent is thy 
government! Thou hast bestowed favours upon him whom Thou 
choosest among thy servants, and the owner of this place is in the 
utmost affluence, delighting himself with pleasant odours and de- 
licious meats and exquisite beverages of all descriptions. And Thou 
has appointed unto thy creatures what Thou wilt, and what Thou 
hast predestined for them; so that among them one is weary, and 
another is at ease; and one of them is prosperous, and another is like 
me, in the extreme of fatigue and abjection! — And he recited thus: — 

How many wretched persons are destitute of ease! and how many are in 

luxury, reposing in the shade! 
I find myself afflicted by trouble beyond measure; and strange is my 

condition, and heavy is my load ! 
Others are in prosperity, and from wretchedness are free, and never for 

a single day have borne a load like mine; 
Incessantly and amply blest, throughout the course of life, with happiness 

and grandeur, as well as drink and meat. 
All men whom God hath made are in origin alike; and I resemble this 

man, and he resembleth me; 
But otherwise, between us is a difference as great as the difference that 

we find between wine and vinegar. 
Yet in saying this, I utter no falsehood against Thee, [O my Lord;] art 

wise, and with justice Thou hast judged. 

And when Es-Sindibad the Porter had finished the recitation of 
his verses, he desired to take up his burden and to depart. But, lo, 
there came forth to him from that door a young page, handsome in 
countenance, comely in stature, magnificent in apparel; and he laid 
hold upon the porter's hand, saying to him. Enter: answer the sum- 
mons of my master; for he calleth for thee. And the porter would 


have refused to enter with the page; but he could not. He there- 
fore deposited his burden with the doorkeeper in the entrance- 
passage, and, entering the house with the page, he found it to be 
a handsome mansion, presenting an appearance of joy and majesty. 
And he looked towards a grand chamber, in which he beheld noble- 
men and great lords; and in it were all kinds of flowers, and all 
kinds of sweet scents, and varieties of dried and fresh fruits, to- 
gether with abundance of various kinds of exquisite viands, and 
beverage prepared from the fruit of the choicest grape-vines. In it 
were also instruments of music and mirth, and varieties of beautiful 
slave-girls, all ranged in proper order. And at the upper end of that 
chamber was a great and venerable man, in the sides of whose beard 
grey hairs had begun to appear. He was of handsome form, comely 
in countenance, with an aspect of gravity and dignity and majesty 
and stateliness. So, upon this, Es-Sindibad the Porter was con- 
founded, and he said within himself. By Allah, this place is a portion 
of Paradise, or it is the palace of a King or Sultan! Then, putting 
himself in a respectful posture, he saluted the assembly, prayed for 
them, and kissed the ground before them; after which he stood, 
hanging down his head in humility. But the master of the house 
gave him permission to seat himself. He therefore sat. And the 
master of the house had caused him to draw near unto him, and 
now began to cheer him with conversation, and to welcome him; 
and he put before him some of the various excellent, delicious, 
exquisite viands. So Es-Sindibad the Porter advanced, and, having 
said. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, — ate 
until he was satisfied and satiated, when he said, Praise be to God 
in every case! — and washed his hands, and thanked them for this. 
The master of the house then said. Thou art welcome, and thy 
day is blessed. What is thy name, nd what trade dost thou fol- 
low? — O my master, he answered, my name is Es-Sindibad the 
Porter, and I bear upon my head men's merchandise for hire. And 
at this, the master of the house smiled, and he said to him. Know, 
O porter, that thy name is like mine; for I am Es-Sindibad of the 
Sea: but, O porter, I desire that thou let me hear the verses that 
thou wast reciting when thou wast at the door. The porter therefore 
was ashamed, and said to him, I conjure thee by Allah that thou 


be not angry with me; for fatigue and trouble, and paucity of what 
the hand possesseth, teach a man ill manners, and impertinence. His 
host, however, repHed, Be not ashamed; for thou hast become my 
brother; recite then the verses, since they pleased me when I heard 
them from thee as thou recitedst them at the door. So upon this 
the porter recited to him those verses, and they pleased him, and 
he was moved with delight on hearing them. He then said to him, 
O porter, know that my story is wonderful, and I will inform thee 
of all that happened to me and befell me before I attained this 
prosperity and sat in this place wherein thou seest me. For I at- 
tained not this prosperity and this place save after severe fatigue and 
great trouble and many terrors. How often have I endured fatigue 
and toil in my early years! I have performed seven voyages, and 
connected with each voyage is a wonderful tale, that would con- 
found the mind. All that which I endured happened by fate and 
destiny, and from that which is written there is no escape nor flight. 

The First Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

Know, O masters, O noble persons, that I had a father; a mer- 
chant, who was one of the first in rank among the people and the 
merchants, and who possessed abundant wealth and ample fortune. 
He died when I was a young child, leaving to me wealth and 
buildings and fields; and when I grew up, I put my hand upon the 
whole of the property, ate well and drank well, associated with the 
young men, wore handsome apparel, and passed my life with my 
friends and companions, feeling confident that this course would 
continue and profit me; and I ceased not to live in this manner for 
a length of time. I then returned to my reason, and recovered from 
my heedlessness, and found ti it my wealth had passed away, and 
my condition had changed, and all [the money] that I had possessed 
had gone. I recovered not to see my situation but in a state of fear 
and confusion of mind, and remembered a tale that I had heard 
before, the tale of our lord Suleyman the son of Da'ud (on both 
of whom be peace!), respecting his saying. Three things are better 
than three: the day of death is better than the day of birth; and a 
living dog is better than a dead lion; and the grave is better than the 


palace.^ Then I arose, and collected what I had, of efifects and ap- 
parel, and sold them; after which I sold my buildings and all that 
my hand possessed, and amassed three thousand pieces of silver; 
and it occurred to my mind to travel to the countries of other people; 
and I remembered one of the sayings of the poets, which was this : — 

In proportion to one's labour, eminences are gained; and he who seeketh 

eminence passeth sleepless nights. 
He diveth in the sea who seeketh for pearls, and succeedeth in acquiring 

lordship and good fortune. 
Whoso seeketh eminence without labouring for it loseth his life in the 

search of vanity. 

Upon this, I resolved, and arose, and bought for myself goods 
and commodities and merchandise, with such other things as were 
required for travel; and my mind had consented to my performing 
a sea-voyage. So I embarked in a ship, and it descended to the city 
of El-Basrah, with a company of merchants; and we traversed the 
sea for many days and nights. We had passed by island after island, 
and from sea to sea, and from land to land, and in every place by 
which we passed we sold and bought, and exchanged merchandise. 
We continued our voyage until we arrived at an island like one 
of the gardens of Paradise, and at that island the master of the ship 
brought her to anchor with us. He cast the anchor, and put forth 
the landing-plank, and all who were in the ship landed upon that 
island. They had prepared for themselves fire-pots, and they lighted 
the fires in them; and their occupations were various: some cooked; 
others washed; and others amused themselves. I was among those 
who were amusing themselves upon the shores of the island, and the 
passengers were assembled to eat and drink and play and sport. But 
while we were thus engaged, lo, the master of the ship, standing upon 
its side, called out with his loudest voice, O ye passengers, whom 
may God preserve! come up quickly in to the ship, hasten to em- 
bark, and leave your merchandise, and flee with your lives, and 
save yourselves from destruction; for this apparent island, upon 
which ye are, is not really an island, but it is a great fish that hath 
become stationary in the midst of the sea, and the sand hath accumu- 
lated upon it, so that it hath become like an island, and trees have 

^Eccles., vii. i; ix. 4. 


grown upon it since times of old; and when ye lighted the fire upon 
it, the fish felt the heat, and put itself in motion, and now it will 
descend with you into the sea, and ye will all be drowned: then 
seek for yourselves escape before destruction, and leave the mer- 
chandise. — The passengers, therefore, hearing the words of the 
master of the ship, hastened to go up into the vessel, leaving the 
merchandise, and their other goods, and their copper cooking-pots, 
and their fire-pots; and some reached the ship, and others reached it 
not. The island had moved, and descended to the bottom of the 
sea, with all that were upon it, and the roaring sea, agitated wdth 
waves, closed over it. 

I was among the number of those who remained behind upon the 
island; so I sank in the sea with the rest who sank. But God (whose 
name be exalted!^ delivered me and saved me from drowning and 
supplied me with a great wooden bowl, of the bowls in which the 
passengers had been washing, and I laid hold upon it and got into it, 
induced by the sweetness of life, and beat the water with my feet as 
with oars, while the waves sported with me, tossing me to the right 
and left. The master of the vessel had caused her sails to be spread, 
and pursued his voyage with those who had embarked, not regard- 
ing such as had been submerged; and I ceased not to look at that 
vessel until it was concealed from my eye. I made sure of de- 
struction, and night came upon me while I was in this state; but 
I remained so a day and a night, and the wind and the waves aided 
me until the bowl came to a stoppage with me under a high island, 
whereon were trees overhanging the sea. So I laid hold upon a 
branch of a lofty tree, and clung to it, after I had been at the point 
of destruction; and I kept hold upon it until I landed on the island, 
when I found my legs benumbed, and saw marks of the nibbling of 
fish upon their hams, of which I had been Insensible by reason of 
the violence of the anguish and fatigue that I was suffering. 

I threw myself upon the island like one dead, and was uncon- 
scious of my existence, and drowned m my stupefaction; and I 
ceased not to remain in this condition until the next day. The sun 
having then risen upon me, I awoke upon the island, and found 
that my feet were swollen, and that I had become reduced to the 
state in which I then was. Awhile I dragged myself along in a 


sitting posture, and then I crawled upon my knees. And there were 
in the island fruits in abundance, and springs of sweet water: there- 
fore I ate of those fruits; and I ceased not to continue in this state 
for many days and nights. My spirit had then revived, my soul had 
returned to me, and my power of motion was renewed; and I began 
to meditate, and to walk along the shore of the island, amusing 
myself among the trees with the sight of the things that God (whose 
name be exalted!) had created; and I had made for myself a staff 
from those trees, to lean upon it. Thus I remained until I walked, 
one day, upon the shore of the island, and there appeared unto me 
an indistinct object in the distance. I imagined that it was a wild 
beast, or one of the beasts of the sea; and I walked towards it, ceas- 
ing not to gaze at it; and, lo, it was a mare, of superb appearance, 
tethered in a part of the island by the sea-shore. I approached her; 
but she cried out against me with a great cry, and I trembled with 
fear of her, and was about to return, when, behold, a man came 
forth from beneath the earth, and he called to me and pursued me, 
saying to me, Who art thou, and whence hast thou come, and 
what is the cause of thine arrival in this place ? So I answered him, 

my master, know that I am a stranger, and I was in a ship, and 
was submerged in the sea with certain others of the passengers; but 
God supplied me with a wooden bowl, and I got into it, and it bore 
me along until the waves cast me upon this island. And when he 
heard my words, he laid hold of my hand and said to me, Come 
with me. I therefore went with him, and he descended with me 
into a grotto beneath the earth, and conducted me into a large sub- 
terranean chamber, and, having seated me at the upper end of that 
chamber, brought me some food. I was hungry; so I ate until I was 
satiated and contented, and my soul became at ease. Then he asked 
me respecting my case, and what had happened to me; wherefore 

1 acquainted him with my whole affair from beginning to end; and 
he wondered at my story. 

And when I had finished my tale, I said, I conjure thee by Allah, 
O my master, that thou be not displeased with me: I have acquainted 
thee with the truth of my case and of what hath happened to me, 
and I desire of thee that thou inform me who thou art, and what 
is the cause of thy dwelling in this chamber that is beneath the 


earth, and what is the reason o£ thy tethering this mare by the 
sea-side. So he replied, Know that we are a party dispersed in this 
island, upon its shores, and we are the grooms of the King El- 
Mihraj, having under our care all his horses; and every month, when 
moonlight commenceth, we bring the swift mares, and tether them 
in this island, every mare that has not foaled, and conceal our- 
selves in this chamber beneath the earth, that they may attract the 
sea-horses. This is the time of the coming forth of the sea-horse; 
and afterwards, if it be the will of God (whose name be exalted!), 
I will take thee with me to the King El-Mihraj, and^divert thee with 
the sight of our country. Know, moreover, that if thou hadst not 
met with us, thou hadst not seen any one in this place, and wouldst 
have died in misery, none knowing of thee. But I will be the means 
of the preservation of thy life, and of thy return to thy country. — I 
therefore prayed for him, and thanked him for his kindness and 
beneficence; and while we were thus talking, the horse came forth 
from the sea, as he had said. And shortly after, his companions came 
each leading a mare; and, seeing me with him, they inquired of me 
my story, and I told them what I had related to him. They then 
drew near to me, and spread the table, and ate, and invited me : so 
I ate with them; after which, they arose, and mounted the horses, 
taking me with them, having mounted me on a mare. 

We commenced our journey, and proceeded without ceasing until 
we arrived at the city of the King El-Mihraj, and they went in to 
him and acquainted him with my story. He therefore desired my 
presence, and they took me in to him, and stationed me before him; 
whereupon I saluted him, and he returned my salutation, and wel- 
comed me, greeting me in an honourable manner, and inquired of 
me respecting my case. So I informed him of all that had happened 
to me, and of all that I had seen, from beginning to end; and he 
wondered at that which had befallen me and happened to me, and 
said to me, O my son, by Allah thou hast experienced an extraor- 
dinary preservation, and had it not been for the predestined length 
of thy life, thou hadst not escaped from these difficulties; but praise 
be to God for thy safety! Then he treated me with beneficence and 
honour, caused me to draw near to him, and began to cheer me with 
conversation and courtesy; and he made me his superintendent of 


the sea-port, and registrar of every vessel that came to the coast. I 
stood in his presence to transact his affairs, and he favoured me and 
benefited me in every respect; he invested me w^ith a handsome and 
costly dress, and I became a person high in credit with him in inter- 
cessions, and in accomplishing the affairs of the people. I ceased not 
to remain in his service for a long time; and w^henever I went to 
the shore of the sea, I used to inquire of the merchants and travellers 
and sailors respecting the direction of the city of Baghdad, that per- 
chance some one might inform me of it, and I might go with him 
thither and return to my country; but none knew it, nor knew any 
one who went to it. At this I was perplexed, and I was weary of 
the length of my absence from home; and in this state I con- 
tinued for a length of time, until I went in one day to the King 
El-Mihraj, and found with him a party of Indians. I saluted them, 
and they returned my salutation, and welcomed me, and asked me 
respecting my country; after which, I questioned them as to their 
country, and they told me that they consisted of various races. Among 
them are the Shakiriyeh, who are the most noble of their races, who 
oppress no one, nor offer violence to any. And among them are a 
class called the Brahmans, a people who never drink wine; but 
they are persons of pleasure and joy and sport and merriment, and 
possessed of camels and horses and cattle. They informed me also 
that the Indians are divided into seventy-two classes; and I won- 
dered at this extremely. And I saw, in the dominions of the King 
El-Mihraj, an island, among others, which is called Kasil, in which 
is heard the beating of tambourines and drums throughout the night, 
and the islanders and travellers informed us that Ed-DejjaP is in it. 
I saw too, in the sea in which is that island, a fish two hundred 
cubits long, and the fishermen fear it; wherefore they knock some 
pieces of wood, and it fleeth from them; and I saw a fish whose 
face was like that of the owl. I likewise saw during that voyage 
many wonderful and strange things, such that, if I related them to 
you, the description would be too long. 

I continued to amuse myself with the sight of those islands and 
the things that they contained, until I stood one day upon the shore 
of the sea, with a staff in my hand, as was my custom, and lo, a 

3 Antichrist of the Muslims. 


great vessel approached, wherein were many merchants; and when 
it arrived at the harbour o£ the city and its place o£ anchoring, the 
master furled its sails, brought it to an anchor by the shore, and 
put forth the landing-plank; and the sailors brought out every thing 
that was in that vessel to the shore. They were slow in taking forth 
the goods, while I stood writing their account, and I said to the 
master of the ship. Doth aught remain in thy vessel ? He answered. 
Yes, O my master; I have some goods in the hold of the ship; but 
their owner was drowned in the sea at one of the islands during 
our voyage hither, and his goods are in our charge; so we desire to 
sell them, and to take a note of their price, in order to convey it to 
his family in the city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace. I therefore 
said to the master. What was the name of that man, the owner of 
the goods? He answered. His name was Es-Sindibad of the Sea, 
and he was drowned on his voyage with us in the sea. And when 
I heard his words, I looked at him with a scrutinizing eye, and 
recognized him; and I cried out at him with a great cry, and said, 
O master, know that I am the owner of the goods which thou hast 
mentioned, and I am Es-Sindibad of the Sea, who descended upon 
the island from the ship, with the other merchants who descended; 
and when the fish that we were upon moved, and thou calledst out 
to us, some got into the vessel, and the rest sank, and I was among 
those who sank. But God (whose name be exalted!) preserved me 
and saved me from drowning by means of a large wooden bowl, 
of those in which passengers were washing, and I got into it, and 
began to beat the water with my feet, and the wind and the waves 
aided me until I arrived at this island, when I landed on it, and God 
(whose name be exalted!) assisted me, and I met the grooms of the 
King El-Mihraj, who took me with them and brought me to this 
city. They then led me in to the King El-Mihraj, and I acquainted 
him with my story; whereupon he bestowed benefits upon me, and 
appointed me clerk of the harbour of this city, and I obtained profit 
in his service, and favour with him. Therefore these goods that 
thou hast are my goods and my portion. 

But the master said. There is no strength nor power but in God, 
the High, the Great! There is no longer faith nor conscience in any 
one! — Wherefore, O master, said I, when thou hast heard me tell 


thee my story? He answered, Because thou heardest me say that I 
had goods whose owner was drowned: therefore thou desirest to 
take them without price; and this is unlawful to thee; for we saw 
him when he sank, and there were with him many of the passengers, 
not one of whom escaped. How then dost thou pretend that thou 
art the owner of the goods? — So I said to him, O master, hear my 
story, and understand my words, and my veracity will become 
manifest to thee; for falsehood is a characteristic of the hypocrites. 
Then I related to him all that I had done from the time that I went 
forth with him from the city of Baghdad until we arrived at that 
island upon which we were submerged in the sea, and I men- 
tioned to him some circumstances that had occurred between me 
and him. Upon this, therefore, the master and the merchants were 
convinced of my veracity, and recognized me; and they congratu- 
lated me on my safety, all of them saying. By Allah, we believed not 
that thou hadst escaped drowning; but God hath granted thee a new 
life. They then gave me the goods, and I found my name written 
upon them, and nought of them was missing. So I opened them, 
and took forth from them something precious and costly; the 
sailors of the ship carried it with me, and I went up with it to the 
King to offer it as a present, and inform him that this ship was the 
one in which I was a passenger. I told him also that my goods had 
arrived all entire, and that this present was a part of them. And the 
King wondered at this affair extremely; my veracity in all that I 
had said became manifest to him, and he loved me greatly, and 
treated me with exceeding honour, giving me a large present in 
return for mine. 

Then I sold my bales, as well as the other goods that I had, and 
gained upon them abundantly; and I purchased other goods and 
merchandise and commodities of that city. And when the merchants 
of the ship desired to set forth on their voyage, I stowed all that I 
had in the vessel, and, going in to the King, thanked him for his 
beneficence and kindness; after which I begged him to grant me 
permission to depart on my voyage to my country and my family. 
So he bade me farewell, and gave me an abundance of things at 
my departure, of the commodities of that city; and when I had 
taken leave of him, I embarked in the ship, and we set sail by the 


permission of God, whose name be exalted! Fortune served us, and 
destiny aided us, and we ceased not to prosecute our voyage night 
and day until we arrived in safety at the city of El-Basrah. There 
we landed, and remained a short time; and I rejoiced at my safety, 
and my return to my country; and after that, I repaired to the 
city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace, with abundance of bales and 
goods and merchandise of great value. Then I went to my quarter, 
and entered my house, and all my family and companions came to 
me. I procured for myself servants and other dependants, and mem- 
luks and concubines and male black slaves, so that I had a large 
establishment; and I purchased houses and other immovable posses- 
sions, more than I had at first. I enjoyed the society of my com- 
panions and friends, exceeding my former habits, and forgot all 
that I had suffered from fatigue, and absence from my native 
country, and difficulty, and the terrors of travel. I occupied myself 
with delights and pleasures, and delicious meats and exquisite 
drinks, and continued in this state. Such were the events of the first 
of my voyages; and to-morrow, if it be the will of God (whose name 
be exalted!), I will relate to you the tale of the second of the seven 

Es-Sindibad of the Sea then made Es-Sindibad of the Land to sup 
with him; after which he gave orders to present him with a hundred 
pieces of gold, and said to him. Thou hast cheered us by thy com- 
pany this day. So the porter thanked him, and took from him what 
he had given him, and went his way, meditating upon the events 
that befell and happened to mankind, and wondering extremely. He 
slept that night in his abode; and when the morning came, he re- 
paired to the house of Es-Sindibad of the Sea, and went in to him; 
and he welcomed him, and treated him with honour, seating him by 
him. And after the rest of his companions had come, the food and 
drink were set before them, and the time was pleasant to them, and 
they were merry. Then Es-Sindibad of the Sea began his narrative 
thus:— ^ 

■* [A paragraph similar to the preceding occurs at the end of the narrative of each 
of Es-Sindibad 's voyages, but, as in the case of Shahrazad's repetitions each night, 
it is not here repeated.] 


The Second Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

Know, O my brothers, that I was enjoying a most comfortable 
life, and the most pure happiness, as ye were told yesterday, until 
it occurred to my mind, one day, to travel again to the lands of other 
people, and I felt a longing for the occupation of traffic, and the 
pleasure of seeing the countries and islands of the world, and gaining 
my subsistence. I resolved upon that affair, and, having taken forth 
from my money a large sum, I purchased with it goods and mer- 
chandise suitable for travel, and packed them up. Then I went to 
the bank of the river, and found a handsome, new vessel, with sails 
of comely canvas, and it had a numerous crew, and was super- 
fluously equipped. So I embarked my bales in it, as did also a 
party of merchants besides, and we set sail that day. The voyage was 
pleasant to us, and we ceased not to pass from sea to sea, and from 
island to island; and at every place where we cast anchor, we met the 
merchants and the grandees, and the sellers and buyers, and we sold 
and bought, and exchanged goods. Thus we continued to do until 
destiny conveyed us to a beautiful island, abounding with trees bear- 
ing ripe fruits, where flowers diffused their fragrance, with birds 
warbling, and pure rivers : but there was not in it an inhabitant, nor 
a blower of a fire. The master anchored our vessel at that island and 
the merchants with the other passengers landed there, to amuse 
themselves with the sight of its trees, and to extol the perfection of 
God, the One, the Omnipotent, and to wonder at the power of the 
Almighty King. I also landed upon the island with the rest, and 
sat by a spring of pure water among the trees. I had with me some 
food, and I sat in that place eating what God (whose name be 
exalted!) had allotted me. The zephyr was sweet to us in that 
place, and the time was pleasant to me; so slumber overcame me, 
and I reposed there, and became immersed in sleep, enjoying that 
sweet zephyr, and the fragrant gales. I then arose, and found not 
in the place a human being nor a Jinni. The vessel had gone with 
the passengers, and not one of them remembered me, neither any 
of the merchants nor any of the sailors: so they left me in the island. 

I looked about it to the right and left, and found not in it any 
one save myself. I was therefore affected with violent vexation, not 


to be exceeded, and my gall-bladder almost burst by reason o£ the 
severity of my grief and mourning and fatigue. I had not with me 
aught of worldly goods, neither food nor drink, and I had become 
desolate, weary in my soul, and despairing of life; and I said. Not 
every time doth the jar escape unbroken; and if I escaped the first 
time, and found him who took me with him from the shore of the 
island to the inhabited part, far, far from me this time is the prospect 
of my finding him who will convey me to inhabited lands! Then 
I began to weep and wail for myself until vexation overpowered me; 
and I blamed myself for that which I had done, and for my having 
undertaken this voyage and fatigue after I had been reposing at 
ease in my abode and my country, in ample happiness, and enjoying 
good food and good drink and good apparel, and had not been in 
want of any thing, either of money or goods or merchandise. I 
repented of my having gone forth from the city of Baghdad, and 
set out on a voyage over the sea, after the fatigue that I had suffered 
during my first voyage, and I felt at the point of destruction, and 
said. Verily to God we belong, and verily unto Him we return! 
And I was in the predicament of the mad. After that, I rose and 
stood up, and walked about the island to the right and left, unable 
to sit in one place. Then I climbed up a lofty tree; and began to 
look from it to the right and left; but saw nought save! sky and 
water, and trees and birds, and islands and sands. Looking, how- 
ever, with a scrutinizing eye, there appeared to me on the island 
a white object, indistinctly seen in the distance, of enormous size: 
so I descended from the tree, and went towards it, and proceeded 
in that direction without stopping until I arrived at it; and lo, it 
was a huge white dome, of great height and large circumference. 
I drew near to it, and walked round it; but perceived no door to it; 
and I found that I had not strength nor activity to climb it, on 
account of its exceeding smoothness. I made a mark at the place 
where I stood, and went round the dome measuring its circum- 
ference; and, lo, it was fifty full paces; and I meditated upon some 
means of gaining an entrance into it. 

The close of the day, and the setting of the sun, had now drawn 
near; and, behold, the sun was hidden, and the sky became dark, 
and the sun was veiled from me. I therefore imagined that a cloud 


had come over it; but this was in the season of summer: so I won- 
dered; and I raised my head, and, contemplating that object atten- 
tively, I saw that it was a bird, o£ enormous size, bulky body, and 
wide wings, flying in the air; and this it was that concealed the 
body of the sun, and veiled it from view upon the island. At this 
my wonder increased, and I remembered a story which travellers 
and voyagers had told me long before, that there is, in certain of the 
islands, a bird of enormous size, called the rukh, that feedeth its 
young ones with elephants. I was convinced, therefore, that the dome 
which I had seen was one of the eggs of the rukh. I wondered at 
the works of God (whose name be exalted!); and while I was in 
this state, lo, that bird alighted upon the dome, and brooded over 
it with its wings, stretching out its legs behind upon the ground; 
and it slept over it. — Extolled be the perfection of Him who sleepeth 
not! — Thereupon I arose, and unwound my turban from my head, 
and folded it and twisted it so that it became like a rope; and I 
girded myself with it, binding it tightly round my waist, and tied 
myself by it to one of the feet of that bird, and made the knot fast, 
saying within myself. Perhaps this bird will convey me to a land 
of cities and inhabitants, and that will be better than my remaining 
in this island. I passed the night sleepless, fearing that if I slept, 
the bird would fly away with me when I was not aware; and when 
the dawn came, and morn appeared, the bird rose from its egg, and 
uttered a great cry, and drew me up into the sky. It ascended and 
soared up so high that I imagined it had reached the highest region 
of the sky, and after that, it descended with me gradually until ic 
alighted with me upon the earth, and rested upon a lofty spot. So 
when I reached the earth, I hastily untied the bond from its foot, 
fearing it, though it knew not of me nor was sensible of me; and 
after I had loosed my turban from it, and disengaged it from its 
foot, shaking as I did so, I walked away. Then it took something 
from the face of the earth in its talons, and soared to the upper 
region of the sky; and I looked attentively at that thing, and, lo, it 
was a serpent, of enormous size, of great body, which it had taken 
and carried oflF towards the sea; and I wondered at that event. 

After this I walked about that place, and found myself upon an 
eminence, beneath which was a large, wide, deep valley; and by 


its side, a great mountain, very high; no one could see its summit 
by reason of its excessive height, and no one had power to ascend it. 
I therefore blamed myself for that which I had done, and said, 
Would that I had remained in the island, since it is better than this 
desert place; for in the island are found, among various fruits, what 
I might have eaten, and I might have drunk of its rivers; but in this 
place are neither trees nor fruits nor rivers: and there is no strength 
nor power but in God, the High, the Great! Verily every time that 
I escape from a calamity, I fall into another that is greater and more 
severe! — Then I arose, and emboldened myself, and walked in that 
valley; and I beheld its ground to be composed of diamonds, with 
which they perforate minerals and jewels, and with which also they 
perforate porcelain and the onyx; and it is a stone so hard that 
neither iron nor rock have any efiFect upon it, nor can any one cut 
off aught from it, or break it, unless by means of the lead-stone. 
All that valley was likewise occupied by serpents and venomous 
snakes, every one of them like a palm-tree; and by reason of its 
enormous size, if an elephant came to it, it would swallow it. Those 
serpents appeared in the night, and hid themselves in the day, fear- 
ing lest the rukh and the vulture should carry them off, and after 
that tear them in pieces; and the cause of that I know not. I re- 
mained in that valley, repenting of what I had done, and said 
within myself, By Allah, I have hastened my own destruction! The 
day departed from me, and I began to walk along that valley, look- 
ing for a place in which to pass the night, fearing those serpents, and 
forgetting my food and drink and subsistence, occupied only by 
care for my life. And there appeared to me a cave near by; so I 
walked thither, and I found its entrance narrow. I therefore entered 
it and, seeing a large stone by its mouth, I pushed it, and stopped 
with it the mouth of the cave while I was within it; and I said 
within myself, I am safe now that I have entered this place; and 
when daylight shineth upon me, I will go forth, and see what 
destiny will do. Then I looked within the cave, and beheld a huge 
serpent sleeping at the upper end of it over its eggs. At this my 
flesh quaked, and I raised my head, and committed my case to fate 
and destiny; and I passed all the night sleepless, until the dawn 
rose and shone, when I removed the stone with which I had closed 


the entrance of the cave, and went forth from it, Hke one intoxicated, 
giddy from excessive sleeplessness and hunger and fear. 

I then w^alked along the valley; and while I was thus occupied, lo, 
a great slaughtered animal fell before me, and I found no one. So I 
wondered thereat extremely; and I remembered a story that I heard 
long before from certain of the merchants and travellers, and persons 
in the habit of journeying about, — that in the mountains of the dia- 
monds are experienced great terrors, and that no one can gain access 
to the diamonds, but that the merchants who import them know 
a stratagem by means of which to obtain them: that they take a 
sheep, and slaughter it, and skin it, and cut up its flesh, which they 
throw down from the mountain to the bottom of the valley: so, 
descending fresh and moist, some of these stones stick to it. Then 
the merchants leave it until midday, and birds of the large kind of 
vulture and the aquiline vulture descend to that meat, and, taking it 
in their talons, fly up to the top of the mountain; whereupon the 
merchants come to them, and cry out at them, and they fly way 
from the meat. The merchants then advance to that meat, and take 
from it the stones sticking to it; after which they leave the meat for 
the birds and the wild beasts, and carry the stones to their countries. 
And no one can procure the diamonds but by means of this strat- 
agem. — Therefore when I beheld that slaughtered animal, and re- 
membered this story, I arose and went to the slaughtered beast. I 
then selected a great number of these stones, and put them into my 
pocket, and within my clothes; and I proceeded to select, and put 
into my pockets and my girdle and my turban, and within my 
clothes. And while I was doing thus, lo, another great slaughtered 
animal. So I bound myself to it with my turban, and, laying myself 
down on my back, placed it upon my bosom, and grasped it firmly. 
Thus it was raised high above the ground; and, behold, a vulture 
descended upon it, seized it with its talons, and flew up with it 
into the air, with me attached to it; and it ceased not to soar up until 
it had ascended with it to the summit of the mountain, when it 
ahghted with it, and was about to tear off some of it. And there- 
upon a great and loud cry arose from behind that vulture, and some- 
thing made a clattering with a piece of wood upon the mountain; 
whereat the vulture flew away in fear, and soared into the sky. 


I therefore disengaged myself from the slaughtered animal, with 
the blood of which my clothes were polluted; and I stood by its 
side. And, lo, the merchant who had cried out at the vulture 
advanced to the slaughtered animal, and saw me standing there. 
He spoke not to me; for he was frightened at me, and terrified; 
but he came to the slaughtered beast, and turned it over; and, not 
finding any thing upon it, he uttered a loud cry, and said. Oh, my 
disappointment! There is no strength nor power but in God! We 
seek refuge with God from Satan the accursed! — He repented, and 
struck hand upon hand, and said. Oh, my grief! What is this affair? 
— So I advanced to him, and he said to me. Who art thou, and what 
is the reason of thy coming to this place ? I answered him, Fear not, 
nor be alarmed; for I am a human being, of the best of mankind; 
and I was a merchant, and my tale is marvellous, and my story 
extraordinary, and the cause of my coming to this mountain and 
this valley is wondrous to relate. Fear not; for thou shalt receive of 
me what will rejoice thee: I have with me abundance of diamonds, 
of which I will give thee as much as will suffice thee, and every 
piece that I have is better than all that would come to thee by other 
means: therefore be not timorous nor afraid. — And upon this the 
man thanked me, and prayed for me, and conversed with me; and, 
lo, the other merchants heard me talking with their companion; so 
they came to me. Each merchant had thrown down a slaughtered 
animal; and when they came to us, they saluted me, and con- 
gratulated me on my safety, and took me with them; and I ac- 
quainted them with my whole story, relating to them what I had 
suffered on my voyage, and telling them the cause of my arrival in 
this valley. Then I gave to the owner of the slaughtered animal to 
which I had attached myself an abundance of what I had brought 
with me; and he was delighted with me, and prayed for me, and 
thanked me for that; and the other merchants said to me. By Allah, 
a new life hath been decreed thee; for no one ever arrived at tjiis 
place before thee and escaped from it; but praise be to God for thy 
safety — They passed the next night in a pleasant and safe place, and 
I passed the night with them, full of the utmost joy at my safety and 
my escape from the valley of serpents, and my arrival in an inhabited 


And when day came, we arose and journeyed over that great 
mountain, beholding in that valley numerous serpents; and we con- 
tinued to advance until we arrived at a garden in a great and beau- 
tiful island, wherein were camphor-trees, under each of which trees 
a hundred men might shade themselves. When any one desireth to 
obtain some camphor from one of these trees, he maketh a perfora- 
tion in the upper part of it with something long, and catcheth what 
descendeth from it. The liquid camphor floweth from it, and con- 
creteth like gum. It is the juice of that tree; and after this opera- 
tion, the tree drieth, and becometh firewood. In that island too is a 
kind of wild beast called the rhinoceros which pastureth there like 
oxen and buffaloes in our country; but the bulk of that wild beast is 
greater than the bulk of the camel, and it eateth the tender leaves 
of trees. It is a huge beast, with a single horn, thick, in the middle 
of its head, a cubit in length, wherein is the figure of a man. And 
in that island are some animals of the ox-kind. Moreover, the sailors, 
and travellers, and persons in the habit of journeying about in the 
mountains and the lands, have told us, that this wild beast which 
is named the rhinoceros hfteth the great elephant upon its horn, and 
pastureth with it upon the island and the shores, without being 
sensible of it; and the elephant dieth upon its horn; and its fat, 
melting by the heat of the sun, and flowing upon its head entereth 
its eyes, so that it becometh bUnd. Then it Heth down upon the 
shore, and the rukh cometh to it, and carrieth it off [with the ele- 
phant] in its talons to its young ones, and feedeth them with it and 
with that which is upon its horn, [namely the elephant]. I saw also 
in that island abundance of the buffalo-kind, the like of which 
existeth not among us. 

The valley before mentioned containeth a great quantity of dia- 
monds such as I carried off and hid in my pockets. For these the 
people gave me in exchange goods and commodities belonging to 
them; and they conveyed them for me, giving me likewise pieces 
of silver and pieces of gold; and I ceased not to proceed with them, 
amusing myself with the sight of different countries, and of what 
God hath created, from valley to valley and from city to city, we, in 
our way, selling and buying, until we arrived at the city of El- 
Basrah. We remained there a few days, and then I came to the 


city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace, and came to my quarter, and 
entered my house, bringing with me a great quantity of diamonds, 
and money and commodities and goods in abundance. I met my 
family and relations, bestowed alms and gifts, made presents to all 
my family and companions, and began to eat well and drink well 
and wear handsome apparel. I associated with friends, and com- 
panions, forgot all that I had suffered, and ceased not to enjoy a 
pleasant life and joyful heart and dilated bosom, with sport and 
merriment. Every one who heard of my arrival came to me, and 
inquired of me respecting my voyage, and the states of the different 
countries : so I informed him, relating to him what I had experienced 
and suffered; and he wondered at the severity of my sufferings, and 
congratulated me on my safety. — This is the end of the account of 
the events that befell me and happened to me during the second 
voyage; and to-morrow, if it be the will of God (whose name be 
exalted), I will relate to you the events of the third voyage. 

The Third Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

Know, O my brothers (and hear from me the story of the third 
voyage, for it is more wonderful than the preceding stories, hitherto 
related — and God is all-knowing with respect to the things which 
He hideth, and omniscient), that, in the times past, when I returned 
from the second voyage, and was in a state of the utmost joy and 
happiness, rejoicing in my safety, having gained great wealth, as I 
related to you yesterday, God having compensated me for all that 
I had lost, I resided in the city of Baghdad for a length of time in 
the most perfect prosperity and delight, and joy and happiness. 
Then my soul became desirous of travel and diversion, and I longed 
for commerce and gain and profits; the soul being prone to evil. So 
I meditated, and bought an abundance of goods suited for a sea- 
voyage, and packed them up, and departed with them from the city 
of Baghdad to the city of El-Basrah. There, coming to the bank of 
the river, I beheld a great vessel, in which were many merchants 
and other passengers, people of worth, and comely and good per- 
sons, people of religion and kindness and probity. I therefore em- 
barked with them in that vessel, and we departed in reliance on the 
blessing of God (whose name be exalted!), and his aid and favour. 


rejoicing in expectation o£ good-fortune and safety. We ceased not 
to proceed from sea to sea, and from island to island, and from city 
to city; at every place by which we passed diverting ourselves, and 
selling and buying, in the utmost joy and happiness. Thus we did 
until we were, one day, pursuing our course in the midst of the 
roaring sea, agitated with waves, when, lo, the master standing at the 
side of the vessel, looked at the different quarters of the sea, and 
then slapped his face, furled the sails of the ship, cast its anchors, 
plucked his beard, rent his clothes, and uttered a great cry. So we 
said to him, O master, what is the news ? And he answered. Know, 
O passengers, whom may God preserve! that the wind hath pre- 
vailed against us, and driven us out of our course in the midst of 
the sea, and destiny hath cast us, through our evil fortune, towards 
the Mountain of Apes. No one hath ever arrived at this place and 
escaped, and my heart is impressed with the conviction of the de- 
struction of us all. — And the words of the master were not ended 
before the apes had come to us and surrounded the vessel on every 
side, numerous as locusts, dispersed about the vessel and on the 
shore. We feared that, if we killed one of them, or struck him, or 
drove him away, they would kill us, on account of their excessive 
number; for numbers prevail against courage; and we feared them 
lest they should plunder our goods and our commodities. They 
are the most hideous of beasts, and covered with hair like black felt, 
their aspect striking terror. No one understandeth their language 
or their state, they shun the society of men, have yellow eyes, and 
black faces, and are of small size, the height of each one of them 
being four spans. They climbed up the cables, and severed them 
with their teeth, and they severed all the ropes of the vessel in every 
part: so the vessel inclined with the wind, and stopped at their 
mountain, and on their coast. Then, having seized all the mer- 
chants and the other passengers, and landed upon the island, they 
took the vessel with the whole of its contents, and went their way 
with it. 

They left us upon the island, the vessel became concealed from 
us, and we knew not whither they went with it. And while we 
were upon that island, eating of its fruits and its herbs, and drinking 
of the rivers that were there, lo, there appeared to us an inhabited 


house in the midst of the island. We therefore went towards it, and 
walked to it; and, behold, it was a pavilion, with lofty angles, with 
high walls, having an entrance with folding doors, which were open; 
and the doors were of ebony. We entered this pavilion, and found 
in it a wide, open space, like a wide, large court, around which were 
many lofty doors, and at its upper end was a high and great masta- 
bah. There were also in it utensils for cooking, hung over the fire- 
pots, and around them were many bones. But we saw not there any 
person; and we wondered at that extremely. We sat in the open 
space in that pavilion a little while, after which we slept; and we 
ceased not to sleep from near the mid-time between sunrise and 
moon until sunset. And, lo, the earth trembled beneath us, and we 
heard a confused noise from the upper air, and there descended 
upon us, from the summit of the pavilion, a person of enormous 
size, in human form, and he was of black complexion, of lofty 
stature, like a great palm-tree : he had two eyes like two blazes of fire, 
and tusks like the tusks of swine, and a mouth of prodigious size, 
like the mouth of a well, and lips like the lips of a camel, hanging 
down upon his bosom, and he had ears like two mortars, hanging 
down upon his shoulders, and the nails of his hands were like the 
claws of the lion. So when we beheld him thus, we became uncon- 
scious of our existence, our fear was vehement, and our terror was 
violent, and through the violence of our fear and dread and terror 
we became as dead men. And after he had descended upon the 
ground, he sat a little while upon the mastabah. Then he arose and 
came to us, and, seizing me by my hands from among my com- 
panions the merchants, lifted me up from the ground in his hand, 
and felt me and turned me over; and I was in his hand like a little 
mouthful. He continued to feel me as the butcher feeleth the sheep 
that he is about to slaughter; but he found me infirm from excessive 
affliction, and lean from excessive fatigue and from the voyage; hav- 
ing no flesh. He therefore let me go from his hand, and took 
another, from among my companions; and he turned him over, as 
he had turned me over, and felt him as he had felt me, and let him 
go. He ceased not to feel us and turn us over, one after another, 
until he came to the master of our ship, who was a fat, stout, broad- 
shouldered man; a person of strength and vigour: so he pleased him, 


and he seized him as the butcher seizeth the animal that he is about 
to slaughter, and, having thrown him on the ground, put his foot 
upon his neck, which he thus broke. Then he brought a long spit, 
and thrust it into his throat, and spitted him; after which he lighted 
a fierce fire, and placed over it that spit upon which the master was 
spitted, and ceased not to turn him round over the burning coals 
until his flesh was thoroughly roasted; when he took him ofiE from 
the fire, put him before him, and separated his joints as a man sep- 
arates the joints of a chicken, and proceeded to tear in pieces his 
flesh with his nails, and to eat of it. Thus he continued to do until 
he had eaten his flesh, and gnawed his bones, and there remained 
of him nothing but some bones, which he threw by the side of the 
pavilion. He then sat a little, and threw himself down, and slept 
upon that mastabah, making a noise with his throat like that which 
is made by a lamb or other beast when slaughtered; and he slept 
uninterruptedly until the morning, when he went his way. 

As soon, therefore, as we were sure that he was far from us, we 
conversed together, and wept for ourselves, saying. Would that we 
had been drowned in the sea, or that the apes had eaten us; for it 
were better than the roasting of a man upon burning coals! By 
Allah, this death is a vile one! But what God willeth cometh to 
pass, and there is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the 
Great! We die in sorrow, and no one knoweth of us; and there is 
no escape for us from this place! — We then arose and went forth 
upon the island, to see for us a place in which to hide ourselves, or 
to flee; and it had become a light matter to us to die, rather than 
that our flesh should be roasted with fire. But we found not for us 
a place in which to hide ourselves; and the evening overtook us. 
So we returned to the pavilion, by reason of the violence of our fear, 
and sat there a little while; and, lo, the earth trembled beneath us, 
and that black approached us, and, coming among us, began to turn 
us over, one after another, as on the former occasion, and to feel us, 
until one pleased him; whereupon he seized him, and did with him 
as he did with the master of the ship the day before. He roasted 
him, and ate him upon that mastabah, and ceased not to sleep that 
night, making a noise with his throat like a slaughtered animal; 
and when the day came, he arose and went his way, leaving us as 


usual. Upon this we assembled together and conversed, and said, 
one to another, By Allah, if we cast ourselves into the sea and die 
drowned, it will be better than our dying burnt; for this mode of 
being put to death is abominable! And one of us said. Hear my 
words. Verily we will contrive a stratagem against him and kill 
him, and be at ease from apprehension of his purpose, and relieve 
the Muslims from his oppression and tyranny. — So I said to them. 
Hear, O my brothers. If we must kill him, we will transport this 
wood, and remove some of this firewood, and make for ourselves 
rafts, each to bear three men, after which we will contrive a strat- 
agem to kill him, and embark on the rafts, and proceed over the 
sea to whatsoever place God shall desire. Or we will remain in 
this place until a ship shall pass by, when we will embark in it. And 
if we be not able to kill him, we will embark [on our rafts], and 
put out to sea; and if we be drowned, we shall be preserved from 
being roasted over the fire, and from being slaughtered. If we escape, 
we escape; and if we be drowned, we die martyrs. — To this they all 
replied, By Allah, this is a right opinion and a wise proceeding. And 
we agreed upon this matter, and commenced the work. We removed 
the pieces of wood out of the pavilion, and constructed rafts, attached 
them to the sea-shore, and stowed upon them some provisions; after 
which we returned to the pavilion. 

And when it was evening, lo, the earth trembled with us, and the 
black came in to us, like the biting dog. He turned us over and felt 
us, one after another, and, having taken one of us, did with him as 
he had done with the others before him. He ate him, and slept upon 
the mastabah, and the noise from his throat was like thunder. So 
thereupon we arose, and took two iron spits, of those which were 
set up, and put them in the fierce fire until they were red-hot, and 
became like burning coals; when we grasped them firmly, and 
went with them to that black while he lay asleep snoring, and we 
thrust them into his eyes, all of us pressing upon them with our 
united strength and force. Thus we pushed them into his eyes as 
he slept, and his eyes were destroyed, and he uttered a great cry, 
whereat our hearts were terrified. Then he arose resolutely from 
that mastabah, and began to search for us, while we fled from him 
to the right and left, and he saw us not; for his sight was blinded; 


but we feared him with a violent fear, and made sure, in that time, 
of destruction, and despaired of safety. And upon this he sought the 
door, feeUng for it, and went forth from it, crying out, while we 
were in the utmost fear of him; and lo, the earth shook beneath us, 
by reason of the vehemence of his cry. So when he went forth from 
the pavilion, we followed him, and he went his way, searching for 
us. Then he returned, accompanied by a female, greater than he, 
and more hideous in form; and when we beheld him, and her who 
was with him, more horrible than he in appearance, we were in 
the utmost fear. As soon as the female saw us, we hastily loosed 
the rafts that we had constructed, and embarked on them, and 
pushed them forth into the sea. But each of the two blacks had a 
mass of rock, and they cast at us until the greater number of us 
died from the casting, there remaining of us only three persons, I 
and two others; and the raft conveyed us to another island. 

We walked forward upon that island until the close of the day, 
and the night overtook us in this state; so we slept a little; and we 
awoke from our sleep, and,lo, a serpent of enormous size, of large 
body and wide belly, had surrounded us. It approached one of us, 
and swallowed him to his shoulders: then it swallowed the rest of 
him, and we heard his ribs break in pieces in its belly; after which 
it went its way. At this we wondered extremely, and we mourned 
for our companion, and were in the utmost fear for ourselves, say- 
ing. By Allah, this is a wonderful thing! Every death that we wit- 
ness is more horrible than the preceding one! We were rejoiced at 
our escape from the black; but our joy is not complete! There is no 
strength nor power but in God! By Allah, we have escaped from 
the black and from drowning; but how shall we escape from this 
unlucky serpent? — Then we arose and walked on over the island, 
eating of its fruits, and drinking of its rivers, and we ceased not to 
proceed till morning, when we found a great, lofty tree. So we 
climbed up it, and slept upon it; I having ascended to the highest 
of its branches. But when the night arrived, and it was dark, the 
serpent came, looking to the right and left, and, advancing to the 
tree upon which we were, came up to my companion, and swallowed 
him to his shoulders; and it wound itself round the tree with him, 
and I heard his bones break in pieces in its belly : then it swallowed 


him entirely, while I looked on; after which it descended from the 
tree, and went its way. — I remained upon that tree the rest of the 
night; and when the day came, and the light appeared, I descended 
from the tree, like one dead, by reason of excessive fear and terror, 
and desired to cast myself into the sea, that I might be at rest from 
the world; but it was not a light matter to me to do so; for life is 
dear. So I tied a wide piece of wood upon the soles of my feet, 
crosswise, and I tied one like it upon my left side, and a similar 
one upon my right side, and a similar one upon the front of my 
body, and I tied one long and wide upon the top of my head, cross- 
wise, like that which was under the soles of my feet. Thus I was 
in the midst of these pieces of wood, and they enclosed me on every 
side. I bound them tightly, and threw myself with the whole upon 
the ground; so I lay in the midst of the pieces of wood, which 
enclosed me like a closet. And when the evening arrived, the ser- 
pent approached as it was wont, and saw me, and drew towards me; 
but it could not swallow me when I was in that state, with the pieces 
of wood round m^e on every side. It went round me; but could not 
come at me : and I looked at it, being like a dead man, by reason of 
the violence of my fear and terror. The serpent retired from me, and 
returned to me; and thus it ceased not to do: every time that it 
desired to get at me to swallow me, the pieces of wood tied upon 
me on every side prevented it. It continued to do thus from sunset 
until daybreak arrived and the light appeared and the sun rose, when 
it went its way, in the utmost vexation and rage. Upon this, there- 
fore, I stretched forth my hands and loosed myself from those pieces 
of wood, in a state like that of the dead, through the severity of that 
which I had suffered from that serpent. 

I then arose, and walked along the island until I came to the 
extremity of it; when I cast a glance towards the sea, and beheld a 
ship at a distance, in the midst of the deep. So I took a great branch 
of a tree, and made a sign with it to the passengers, calling out to 
them; and when they saw me, they said, We must see what this is. 
Perhaps it is a man. — Then they approached me, and heard my cries 
to them. They therefore came to me, and took me with them in 
the ship, and asked me respecting my state: so I informed them of 
all that had happened to me from beginning to end, and of the 


troubles that I had sufiFered; whereat they wondered extremely. 
They clad me with some of their clothes, attiring me decently; and 
after that, they put before me some provisions, and I ate until I was 
satisfied. They also gave me to drink some cool and sweet water, 
and my heart was revived, my soul became at ease, and I experienced 
great comfort. God (whose name be exalted!) had raised me to life 
after my death: so I praised Him (exalted be his name!) for His 
abundant favours, and thanked Him. My courage was strengthened 
after I had made sure of destruction, so that it seemed to me that all 
which I then experienced was a dream. — ^We proceeded on our 
voyage, and the wind was fair to us by the permission of God (whose 
name be exalted!) until we came in sight of an island called the 
Island of Es-Selahit, where sandalwood is abundant, and there the 
master anchored the ship, and the merchants and other passengers 
landed, and took forth their goods to sell and buy. The owner of 
the ship then looked towards me, and said to me. Hear my words, 
Thou art a stranger and poor, and hast informed us that thou hast 
suffered many horrors: I therefore desire to benefit thee with some- 
thing that will aid thee to reach thy country, and thou wilt pray for 
me. — I replied, So be it, and thou shalt have my prayers. And he 
rejoined. Know that there was with us a man voyaging, whom we 
lost, and we know not whether he be living or dead, having heard 
no tidings of him. I desire to commit to thee his bales that thou may- 
est sell them in this island. Thou shalt take charge of them, and we 
will give thee something proportionate to thy trouble and thy serv- 
ice; and what remaineth of them we will take and keep until we 
return to the city of Baghdad, when we will inquire for the owner's 
family, and give to them the remainder, together with the price of 
that which shall be sold of them. Wilt thou then take charge of 
them, and land with them upon this island, and sell them as do the 
merchants? — I answered, I hear and obey thee, O my master; and 
thou art beneficent and kind. And I prayed for him and thanked 
him for that. 

He thereupon ordered the porters and sailors to land those goods 
upon the island, and to deliver them to me. And the clerk of the 
ship said, O master, what are these bales which the sailors and porters 
have brought out, and with the name of which of the merchants 


shall I mark them? He answered, Write upon them the name of 
Es-Sindibad of the Sea, who was with us, and was drowned [or left 
behind] at the island [of the rukh] , and of whom no tidings have 
come to us; wherefore we desire that this stranger sell them, and 
take charge of the price of them, and we will give him somewhat 
of it in requital of his trouble and his sale of them. What shall 
remain we will take with us until we return to the city of Baghdad, 
when, if we find him, we will give it to him; and if we find him 
not, we will give it to his family in Baghdad. — So the clerk replied. 
Thy words are good, and thy notion is excellent. And when I 
heard the words of the master, mentioning that the bales were to 
be inscribed with my name, I said within myself. By Allah, I am 
Es-Sindibad of the Sea. Then I fortified myself, and waited till the 
merchants had landed and had assembled conversing and consult- 
ing upon affairs of selHng and buying, when I advanced to the owner 
of the ship, and said to him, O my master, dost thou know what 
manner of man was the owner of the bales which thou hast com- 
mitted to me that I may sell them? He answered me, I know not 
his condition; but he was a man of the city of Baghdad, called Es- 
Sindibad of the Sea; and we had cast anchor at one of the islands, 
where he was lost, and we have had no tidings of him to the present 
time. So upon this I uttered a great cry, and said to him, O master 
(whom may God preserve!), know that I am Es-Sindibad of the 
Sea. I was not drowned; but when thou anchoredst at the island, 
and the merchants and other passengers landed, I also landed with 
the party, taking with me something to eat on the shore of the island. 
Then I enjoyed myself in sitting in that place, and slumber over- 
taking me, I slept, and became immersed in sleep; after which I 
arose and found not the ship, nor found I any one with me. There- 
fore this wealth is my wealth, and these goods are my goods. All 
the merchants also who transport diamonds saw me when I was 
upon the mountain of the diamonds, and they will bear witness for 
me that I am Es-Sindibad of the Sea, as I informed them of my story 
and of the events that befell me with you in the ship. I informed 
them that ye had forgotten me upon the island, asleep, and that I 
arose and found not any one, and that what had befallen me befell 


And when the merchants and other passengers heard my words, 
they assembled around me; and some o£ them beUeved me, and 
others disbeUeved me. But while we were thus talking, lo, one of 
the merchants, on his hearing me mention the valley o£ diamonds 
arose and advanced to me, and said to them. Hear, O company, my 
words. When I related to you the most wonderful thing that I had 
seen in my travels, I told you that, when we cast down the slaugh- 
tered animals into the valley of diamonds, I casting down mine with 
the rest, as I was accustomed to do, there came up with my slaugh- 
tered beast a man attached to it, and ye believed me not, but accused 
me of falsehood. — They replied. Yes: thou didst relate to us this 
thing, and we believed thee not. And the merchant said to them, 
This is the man who attached himself to my slaughtered animal, 
and he gave me some diamonds of high price, the like of which exist 
not, rewarding me with more than would have come up with my 
slaughtered animal; and I took him as my companion until we 
arrived at the city of El-Basrah, whence he proceeded to his coun- 
try, having bidden us farewell, and we returned to our own coun- 
tries. This is he, and he informed us that his name was Es-Sindibad 
of the Sea: he told us likewise of the departure of the ship, and of 
his sitting in that island. And know ye that this man came not to 
us here but in order that ye might believe my words respecting the 
matter which I told you; and all these goods are his property; for 
he informed us of them at the time of his meeting with us, and the 
truth of his assertion hath become manifest. — So when the master 
heard the words of that merchant, he arose and came to me, and, 
having looked at me awhile with a scrutinizing eye, said. What is 
the mark of thy goods? I answered him, Know that the mark of 
my goods is of such and such a kind. And I related to him a cir- 
cumstance that had occurred between me and him when I embarked 
with him in the vessel from El-Basrah. He therefore was convinced 
that I was Es-Sindibad of the Sea, and he embraced me and saluted 
me, and congratulated me on my safety, saying to me, By Allah, O 
my master, thy story is wonderful and thy case is extraordinary ! But 
praise be to God who hath brought us together, and restored thy 
goods and thy wealth to thee! 

Upon this, I disposed of my goods according to the knowledge I 


possessed and they procured me, during that voyage, great gain, 
whereat I rejoiced exceedingly, congratulating myself on my safety, 
and on the restoration of my wealth to me. And we ceased not to 
sell and buy at the islands until we arrived at the country of Es- 
Sind,^ where likewise we sold and bought. And I beheld in that 
sea [which we navigated, namely the Sea of India,] many wonders 
and strange things that cannot be numbered nor calculated. Among 
the things that I saw there were a fish in the form of the cow, and a 
creature in the form of the ass; and I saw a bird that cometh forth 
from a sea-shell, and layeth its eggs and hatcheth them upon the 
surface of the water, and never cometh forth from the sea upon the 
face of the earth. — After this we continued our voyage, by permis- 
sion of God (whose name be exalted!), and the wind and voyage 
were pleasant to us, until we arrived at El-Basrah, where I remained 
a few days. Then I came to the city of Baghdad, and repaired to 
my quarter, entered my house, and saluted my family and com- 
panions and friends. I rejoiced at my safety and my return to my 
country and my family and city and district, and I gave alms and 
presents, and clad the widows and the orphans, and collected my 
companions and friends. And I ceased not to live thus, eating and 
drinking, and sporting and making merry, eating well and drinking 
well, associating famiUarly and mingling in society; and I forgot 
all that had happened to me, and the distresses and horrors that I 
had suffered. And I gained during that voyage what could not be 
numbered nor calculated. — Such were the most wonderful of the 
things that I beheld during that voyage; and to-morrow, if it be the 
will of God (whose name be exalted!), thou shalt come. [O Sindi- 
bad of the Land,] and I will relate to thee the story of the fourth 
voyage; for it is more wonderful than the stories of the preceding 

The Fourth Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

Know, O my brothers, that when I returned to the city of Bagh- 
dad, and met my companions and my family and my friends, and 
was enjoying the utmost pleasure and happiness and ease, and had 

'*' Western India. 


forgotten all that I had experienced, by reason of the abundance of 
my gains, and had become immersed in sport and mirth, and the 
society of friends and companions, leading the most delightful life, 
my wicked soul suggested to me to travel again to the countries of 
other people, and I felt a longing for associating with the different 
races of men, and for selling and gains. So I resolved upon this, 
and purchased precious goods, suitable to a sea-voyage, and, having 
packed up many bales, more than usual, I went from the city of 
Baghdad to the city of El-Basrah, where I embarked my bales in a 
ship, and joined myself to a party of the chief men of El-Basrah, 
and we set forth on our voyage. The vessel proceeded with us, con- 
fiding in the blessing of God (whose name be exalted!), over the 
roaring sea agitated with waves, and the voyage was pleasant to us; 
and we ceased not to proceed in this manner for a period of nights 
and days, from island to island and from sea to sea, until a con- 
trary wind rose against us one day. The master therefore cast the 
anchors, and stayed the ship in the midst of the sea, fearing that she 
would sink in the midst of the deep. And while we were in this 
state, supplicating, and humbling ourselves to God (whose name 
be exalted!), there rose against us a great tempest, which rent the 
sails in strips, and the people were submerged with all their bales 
and their commodities and wealth. I was submerged among the rest, 
and I swam in the sea for half a day, after which I abandoned my- 
self; but God (whose name be exalted!) aided me to lay hold upon 
a piece of one of the planks of the ship, and I and a party of the 
merchants got upon it. We continued sitting upon this plank, 
striking the sea with our feet, and the waves and the wind helping 
us; and we remained in this state a day and a night. And on the 
following day, shortly before the mid-time between sunrise and 
noon, a wind rose against us, the sea became boisterous, the waves 
and the wind were violent, and the water cast us upon an island; 
and we were like dead men, from excess of sleeplessness and fatigue, 
and cold and hunger, and fear and thirst. 

We walked along the shores of that island, and found upon it 
abundant herbs; so we ate some of them to stay our departing 
spirits, and to sustain us; and passed the next night upon the shore 
of the island. And when the morning came, and diffused its light 


and shone, we rose and walked about the island to the right and 
left, and there appeared to us a building in the distance. We there- 
fore proceeded over the island in the direction of that building which 
we had seen from a distance, and ceased not to proceed until we 
stood at its door. And while we were standing there, lo, there came 
forth to us from that door a party of naked men, who, without 
speaking to us, seized us, and took us to their King, and he com- 
manded us to sit. So we sat; and they brought to us some food, 
such as we knew not, nor in our lives had we seen the like of it; 
wherefore my stomach consented not to it, and I ate none of it in 
comparison with my companions, and my eating so little of it was 
owing to the grace of God (whose name be exalted!), in conse- 
quence of which I have lived to the present time. For when my 
companions ate of that food, their minds became stupefied, and they 
ate Hke madmen, and their states became changed. Then the people 
brought to them cocoa-nut-oil, and gave them to drink of it, and 
anointed them with it; and when my companions drank of that oil, 
their eyes became turned in their faces, and they proceeded to eat 
of that food contrary to their usual manner. Upon this, therefore, I 
was confounded respecting their case, and grieved for them, and 
became extremely anxious by reason of the violence of my fear for 
myself with regard to these naked men. I observed them atten- 
tively, and, lo, they were a Magian people, and the King of their 
city was a ghul; and every one who arrived at their country, or 
whom they saw or met in the valley or the roads, they brought to 
their King, and they fed him with that food, and anointed him with 
that oil, in consequence of which his body became expanded, in 
order that he might eat largely; and his mind was stupefied, his 
faculty of reflection was destroyed, and he became like an idiot. 
Then they gave him to eat and drink in abundance of that food and 
oil, until he became fat and stout, when they slaughtered him and 
roasted him, and served him as meat to their King. But as to the 
companions of the King, they ate the flesh of men without roasting 
or otherwise cooking it. So when I saw them do thus, I was in the 
utmost anguish on my own account and on account of my com- 
panions. The latter, by reason of the excessive stupefaction of their 
minds, knew not what was done unto them, and the people com- 


mitted them to a person who took them every day and went forth 
to pasture them on that island Uke cattle. 

But as for myself, I became, through the violence of fear and 
hunger, infirm and wasted in body, and my flesh dried upon my 
bones. So when they saw me in this state, they left me and forgot 
me, and not one of them remembered me, nor did I occur to their 
minds, until I contrived a stratagem one day, and, going forth from 
that place, walked along the island to a distance. And I saw a herds- 
man sitting upon something elevated in the midst of the sea; and 
I certified myself of him, and, lo, he was the man to whom they 
had committed my companions that he might pasture them; and 
he had with him many like them. As soon, therefore, as that man 
beheld me, he knew that I was in possession of my reason, and that 
nought of that which had afflicted my companions had afflicted me. 
So he made a sign to me from a distance, and said to me, Turn 
back, and go along the road that is on thy right hand; thou wilt so 
reach the King's highway. Accordingly I turned back, as this man 
directed me, and, seeing a road on my right hand, I proceeded along 
it, and ceased not to go on, sometimes running by reason of fear, 
and sometimes walking at my leisure until I had taken rest. Thus 
I continued to do until I was hidden from the eyes of the man who 
directed me to the way, and I saw him not nor did he see me. The 
sun had disappeared from me, and darkness approached; where- 
fore I sat to rest, and desired to sleep; but sleep came not to me that 
night on account of the violence of my fear and hunger and fatigue. 
And when it was midnight, I arose and walked on over the island, 
and I ceased not to proceed until day arrived, and the morning came 
and diffused its light and shone, and the sun rose over the tops of 
the high hills and over the low gravelly plains. I was tired and 
hungry and thirsty: so I began to eat of the herbs and vegetables 
that were upon the island, and continued to eat of them till I was 
satiated, and my departing spirit was stayed; after which I arose 
and walked on again over the island; and thus I ceased not to do 
all the day and the next night; whenever I was hungry, eating of 
the vegetables. 

In this manner I proceeded for the space of seven days with their 
nights; and on the morning of the eighth day, I cast a glance, and 


beheld a faint object in the distance. So I went towards it, and 
ceased not to proceed until I came up to it, after sunset; and I looked 
at it with a scrutinizing eye, while I was yet distant from it, and 
with a fearful heart in consequence of what I had suffered first 
and after, and, lo, it was a party of men gathering pepper. And 
when I approached them, and they saw me, they hastened to me, 
and came to me and surrounded me on every side, saying to me. 
Who art thou, and whence hast thou come ? I answered them, Know 
ye, O people, that I am a poor foreigner. And I informed them of 
my whole case, and of the horrors and distresses that had befallen 
me, and what I had suffered; whereupon they said. By Allah, this 
is a wonderful thing! But how didst thou escape from the blacks, 
and how didst thou pass by them in this island, when they are a 
numerous people, and eat men, and no one is safe from them, nor 
can any pass by them ? — So I acquainted them with that which had 
befallen me among them, and with the manner in which they had 
taken my companions, and fed them with food of which I did not 
eat. And they congratulated me on my safety, and wondered at 
that which had befallen me. Then they made me sit among them 
until they had finished their work, and they brought me some nice 
food. I therefore ate of it, being hungry, and rested with them a 
while; after which they took me and embarked with me in a vessel, 
and went to their island and their abodes. They then took me to 
their King, and I saluted him, and he welcomed me and treated me 
with honour, and inquired of me my story. So I related to him what 
I had experienced, and what had befallen me and happened to me 
from the day of my going forth from the city of Baghdad until I 
had come unto him. And the King wondered extremely at my 
story, and at the events that had happened to me; he, and all who 
were present in his assembly. After that, he ordered me to sit with 
him. Therefore I sat; and he gave orders to bring the food, which 
accordingly they brought, and I ate of it as much as sufficed me, and 
washed my hands, and offered up thanks for the favour of God 
(whose name be exalted!), praising Him and glorifying Him. I 
then rose from the presence of the King, and diverted myself with 
a sight of his city; and, lo, it was a flourishing city, abounding with 
inhabitants and wealth, and with food and markets and goods, and 
sellers and buyers. 


So I rejoiced at my arrival at that city, and my heart was at ease; 
I became famiUar with its inhabitants, and was magnified and 
honoured by them and by their King above the people of his 
dominions and the great men of his city. And I saw that all its 
great men and its small rode excellent and fine horses without sad- 
dles; whereat I wondered; and I said to the King, Wherefore, O 
my lord, dost thou not ride on a saddle; for therein is ease to the 
rider, and additional power? He said. What kind of thing is a 
saddle? This is a thing that in our lives we have never seen, nor 
have we ever ridden upon it. — And I said to him. Wilt thou permit 
me to make for thee a saddle to ride upon and to experience the 
pleasure of it? He answered me. Do so. I therefore said to him, 
Furnish me with some wood. And he gave orders to bring me all 
that I required. Then I asked for a clever carpenter, and sat 
with him, and taught him the construction of the saddle, and how 
he should make it. Afterwards I took some wool, and teased it, and 
made felt of it; and I caused some leather to be brought, and covered 
the saddle with it, and polished it. I then attached its straps, and 
its girth: after which I brought the blacksmith, and described to 
him the form of the stirrups, and he forged an excellent pair of 
stirrups; and I filed them, and tinned them. Then I attached fringes 
of silk. Having done this, I arose and brought one of the best of the 
King's horses, girded upon him that saddle, attached to it the stir- 
rups, bridled him, and brought him forward to the King; and it 
pleased him, and was agreeable to him. He thanked me, and seated 
himself upon it, and was greatly delighted with that saddle; and he 
gave me a large present as a reward for that which I had done for 
him. And when his Wezir saw that I had made that saddle, he 
desired of me one like it. So I made for him a saddle like it. The 
grandees and dignitaries likewise desired of me saddles, and I made 
for them. I taught the carpenter the construction of the saddle; and 
the blacksmith, the mode of making stirrups; and we employed our- 
selves in making these things, and sold them to the great men and 
masters. Thus I collected abundant wealth, and became in high 
estimation with them, and they loved me exceedingly. 

I continued to enjoy a high rank with the King and his attendants 
and the great men of the country and the lords of the state, until I 
sat one day with the. King, in the utmost happiness and honour; 


and while I was sitting, the King said to me, Know, O thou, that 
thou hast become magnified and honoured among us, and hast 
become one of us, and we cannot part with thee, nor can we suffer 
thee to depart from our city; and I desire of thee that thou obey me 
in an affair, and reject not that which I shall say. So I said to him, 
And what dost thou desire of me, O King? For I will not reject 
that which thou shalt say, since thou hast shewn favour and kind- 
ness and beneficence to me, and (praise be to God!) I have become 
one of thy servants. — And he answered, I desire to marry thee among 
us to a beautiful, lovely, elegant wife, possessed of wealth and love- 
liness, and thou shalt become a dweller with us, and I will lodge 
thee by me in my palace: therefore oppose me not, nor reject what 
I say. And when I heard the words of the King, I was abashed at 
him, and was silent, returning him no answer, by reason of the ex- 
ceeding bashfulness with which I regarded him. So he said, Where- 
fore dost thou not reply to me, O my son ? And I answered him, O 
my master, it is thine to command, O King of the age! And upon 
this he sent immediately and caused the Kadi and the witnesses to 
come, and married me forthwith to a woman of noble rank, of high 
lineage, possessing abundant wealth and fortune, of great origin, of 
surprising loveliness and beauty, owner of dwellings and possessions 
and buildings. Then he gave me a great, handsome house, standing 
alone, and he gave me servants and other dependents, and assigned 
me suppHes and salaries. Thus I became in a state of the utmost 
ease and joy and happiness, forgetting all the fatigue and affliction 
and adversity that had happened to me; and I said within myself. 
When I set forth on my voyage to my country, I will take her with 
me. But every event that is predestined to happen to man must 
inevitably take place, and no one knoweth what will befall him. 
I loved her and she loved me with a great affection, concord existed 
between me and her, and we lived in a most delightful manner, and 
most comfortable abode, and ceased not to enjoy this state for a 
length of time. 

Then God (whose name be exalted!) caused to die the wife of 
my neighbour, and he was a companion of mine. So I went in to 
him to console him for the loss of his wife, and beheld him in a 
most evil state, anxious, weary in soul and heart; and upon this I 


consoled him and comforted him, saying to him, Mourn not for 
thy wife. God will happily compensate thee by giving thee one 
better than she, and thy life will be long if it be the will of God, 
whose name be exalted! — But he wept violently, and said to me, O 
my companion, how can I marry another after her, or how can God 
compensate me by giving me a better than she, when but one day 
remaineth of my life? So I replied, O my brother, return to thy 
reason, and do not announce thine own death; for thou art well, in 
prosperity and health. But he said to me, O my companion, by thy 
life, to-morrow thou wilt lose me, and never in thy life wdlt thou 
see me again. — And how so? said I. He answered me. This day 
they will bury my wife, and they will bury me with her in the 
sepulchre; for it is our custom in our country, when the wife dieth, 
to bury with her her husband alive; and when the husband dieth, 
they bury with him his wife alive; that neither of them may enjoy 
life after the other. I therefore said to him. By Allah, this custom 
is exceedingly vile, and none can endure it! — And while we were 
thus conversing, lo, most of the people of the city came, and pro- 
ceeded to console my companion for the loss of his wife and for 
himself. They began to prepare her body for burial according to 
their custom, brought a bier, and carried the woman in it, with all 
her apparel and ornaments and wealth, taking the husband with 
them; and they went forth with them to the outside of the city, and 
came to a place in the side of a mountain by the sea. They advanced 
to a spot there, and Hfted up from it a great stone, and there ap- 
peared, beneath the place of this, a margin of stone, like the margin 
of a well. Into this they threw down that woman; and, lo, it was 
a great pit beneath the mountain. Then they brought the man, tied 
him beneath his bosom by a rope of fibres of the palm-tree, and 
let him down into the pit. They also let down to him a great jug 
of sweet water, and seven cakes of bread; and when they had let 
him down, he loosed himself from the rope, and they drew it up, 
and covered the mouth of the pit with that great stone as it was 
before, and went their ways, leaving my companion with his wife in 
the pit. — So I said within myself. By Allah, this death is more 
grievous than the first death! I then went to their King, and said 
to him, O my lord, how is it that ye bury the living with the dead 


in your country ? And he answered me, Know that this is our cus- 
tom in our country : when the husband dieth, we bury with him his 
wife; and when the wife dieth, we bury with her her husband aHve; 
that we may not separate them in hfe nor in death; and this custom 
we have received from our forefathers. And I said, O King of the 
age, and in Uke manner the foreigner Uke me, when his wife dieth 
among you do ye with him as ye have done with this man? He 
answered me, Yes : we bury him with her, and do with him as thou 
hast seen. And when I heard these words from him, my gall-bladder 
almost burst by reason of the violence of my grief and mourning 
for myself; my mind was stupefied, and I became fearful lest my 
wife should die before me and they should bury me alive with her. 
Afterwards, however, I comforted myself, and said. Perhaps I shall 
die before her: and no one knoweth which will precede and which 
will follow. And I proceeded to beguile myself with occupations. 

And but a short time had elapsed after that when my wife fell 
sick, and she remained so a few days, and died. So the greater num- 
ber of the people assembled to console me, and to console her family 
for her death; and the King also came to console me for the loss of 
her, as was their custom. Then they brought for her a woman to 
wash her, and they washed her, and decked her with the richest of 
her apparel, and ornaments of gold, and necklaces and jewels. And 
when they had attired my wife, and put her in the bier, and carried 
her and gone with her to that mountain, and lifted up the stone 
from the mouth of the pit, and cast her into it, all my companions, 
and the family of my wife, advanced to bid me farewell and to con- 
sole me for the loss of my life. I was crying out among them, I am 
a foreigner, and am unable to endure your custom! But they would 
not hear what I said, nor pay any regard to my words. They laid 
hold upon me and bound me by force, tying with me seven cakes 
of bread and a jug of sweet water, according to their custom, and 
let me down into that pit. And, lo, it was a great cavern beneath 
that mountain. They said to me. Loose thyself from the ropes. But 
I would not loose myself. So they threw the ropes down upon me, 
and covered the mouth of the pit with the great stone that was upon 
it, and went their ways. I beheld in that cavern many dead bodies, 
and their smell was putrid and abominable; and I blamed myself 


for that which I had done, saying, By Allah, I deserve all that hap- 
peneth to me and befalleth me! I knew not night from day; and I 
sustained myself with little food, not eating until hunger almost 
killed me, nor drinking until my thirst became violent, fearing the 
exhaustion of the food and water that I had with me. I said. There 
is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! What 
tempted me to marry in this city ? And every time that I say, I have 
escaped from a calamity, I fall into a calamity that is more mighty 
than the preceding one! By Allah, my dying this death is unfor- 
tunate! Would that I had been drowned in the sea, or had died 
upon the mountains! It had been better for me than this evil death! 
— And I continued in this manner, blaming myself. I laid myself 
down upon the bones of the dead, begging aid of God (whose name 
be exalted!), and wished for death, but I found it not, by reason of 
the severity of my sufferings. Thus I remained until hunger burned 
my stomach, and thirst inflamed me; when I sat, and felt for the 
bread, and ate a little of it, and I swallowed after it a little water. 
Then I rose and stood up, and walked about the sides of the cavern, 
and I found that it was spacious sideways, and with vacant cavities; 
but upon its bottom were numerous dead bodies, and rotten bones, 
that had lain there from old times. And upon this I made for myself 
a place in the side of the cavern, remote from the fresh corpses, and 
there I slept. 

At length my provision became greatly diminished, little remain- 
ing with me. During each day, or in more than a day, I had eaten 
but once, and drunk one draught, fearing the exhaustion of the 
water and food that was with me before my death; and I ceased not 
to do this until I was sitting one day, and while I sat, meditating 
upon my case, thinking what I should do when my food and water 
were exhausted, lo, the mass of rock was removed from its place, and 
the light beamed down upon me. So I said. What can be the matter ? 
And, behold, the people were standing at the top of the pit, and they 
let down a dead man with his wife with him alive, and she was 
weeping and crying out for herself; and they let down with her a 
large quantity of food and water. I saw the woman; but she saw 
not me; and they covered the mouth of the pit with the stone, and 
went their ways. Then I arose, and, taking in my hand a long bone 


of a dead man, I went to the woman, and struck her upon the middle 
of the head; whereupon she fell down senseless; and I struck her a 
second and a third time, and she died. So I took her bread and what 
else she had, and I found upon her abundance of ornaments and 
apparel, necklaces and jewels and minerals. And having taken the 
water and food that was with her, I sat in a place that I had pre- 
pared in a side of the cavern, wherein to sleep, and proceeded to eat 
a little of that food, as much only as would sustain me, lest it should 
be exhausted quickly, and I should die of hunger and thirst. 

I remained in that cavern a length of time; and whenever they 
buried a corpse, I killed the person who was buried with it alive, 
and took that person's food and drink, to subsist upon it, until I 
was sleeping one day, and I awoke from my sleep, and heard some- 
thing make a noise in a side of the cavern. So I said. What can this 
be ? I then arose and walked towards it, taking with me a long bone 
of a dead man; and when it was sensible of my presence, it ran away, 
and fled from me; and, lo, it was a wild beast. But I followed it to 
the upper part of the cavern, and thereupon a light appeared to me 
from a small spot, like a star. Sometimes it appeared to me, and 
sometimes it was concealed from me. Therefore when I saw it, I 
advanced towards it; and the nearer I approached to it, the larger 
did the light from it appear to me. So upon this I was convinced 
that it was a hole in that cavern, communicating with the open 
country; and I said within myself. There must be some cause for 
this: either it is a second mouth, like that from which they let me 
down, or it is a fissure in this place. I meditated in my mind a while, 
and advanced towards the light; and, lo, it was a perforation in the 
back of that mountain, which the wild beasts had made, and 
through which they entered this place; and they ate of the dead 
bodies until they were satiated, and went forth through this per- 
foration. When I saw it, therefore, my mind was quieted, my soul 
was tranquillized, and my heart was at ease; I made sure of life 
after death, and became as in a dream. Then I managed to force 
my way through that perforation, and found myself on the shore of 
the sea, upon a great mountain, which formed a barrier between the 
sea on the one side, and the island and city on the other, and to 
which no one could gain access. So I praised God (whose name be 


exalted!), and thanked Him, and rejoiced exceedingly, and my heart 
was strengthened. I then returned through that perforation into the 
cavern, and removed all the food and water that was in it, that I 
had spared. I also took the clothes of the dead, and clad myself in 
some of them, in addition to those I had on me; and I took abun- 
dance of the things that were on the dead, consisting of varieties of 
necklaces and jewels, long necklaces of pearls, ornaments of silver 
and gold set with various minerals, and rarities; and, having tied 
up some clothes of the dead in apparel of my own, I went forth 
from the perforation to the back of the mountain, and stood upon 
the shore of the sea. Every day I entered the cavern, and explored 
it; and whenever they buried a person alive, I took the food and 
water, and killed that person, whether male or female; after which 
I went forth from the perforation, and sat upon the shore of the sea, 
to wait for relief from God (whose name be exalted!), by means 
of a ship passing by me. And I removed from that cavern all 
the ornaments that I found, and tied them up in the clothes of 
the dead. 

I ceased not to remain in this state for a length of time; and after- 
wards, as I was sitting one day, upon the shore of the sea, meditating 
upon my case, lo, a vessel passed along in the midst of the roaring 
sea agitated with waves. So I took in my hand a white garment, of 
the clothes of the dead, and tied it to a staff, and ran with it along 
the sea-shore, making a sign to the people with that garment, until 
they happened to look, and saw me upon the summit of the moun- 
tain. They therefore approached me, and heard my voice, and sent 
to me a boat in which was a party of men from the ship; and when 
they drew near to me they said to me, Who art thou, and what is 
the reason of thy sitting in this place, and how didst thou arrive at 
this mountain; for in our lives we have never seen any one who hath 
come unto it? So I answered them, I am a merchant. The vessel 
that I was in was wrecked, and I got upon a plank, together with my 
things, and God facilitated my landing at this place, with my things, 
by means of my exertion and my skill, after severe toil. They there- 
fore took me with them in the boat, and embarked all that I had 
taken from the cavern, tied up in the garments and grave-clothes, 
and they proceeded with me until they took me up into the ship, 


to the master, and all my things with me. And the master said to 
me, O man, how didst thou arrive at this place, which is a great 
mountain, with a great city behind it ? All my life I have been accus- 
tomed to navigate this sea, and to pass by this mountain; but have 
never seen any thing there except the wild beasts and the birds. — I 
answered him, I am a merchant. I was in a great ship, and it was 
wrecked, and all my merchandise, consisting of these stuffs and 
clothes which thou seest, was submerged; but I placed it upon a 
great plank, one of the planks of the ship, and destiny and fortune 
aided me, so that I landed upon this mountain, where I waited for 
some one to pass by and take me with him. 

And I acquainted them not with the events that had befallen me 
in the city, or in the cavern; fearing that there might be with them 
in the ship some one from that city. Then I took forth and pre- 
sented to the owner of the ship a considerable portion of my prop- 
erty, saying to him, O my master, thou hast been the means of my 
escape from this mountain: therefore receive from me this as a rec- 
ompense for the favour which thou hast done to me. But he would 
not accept it from me; and he said to me, We take nothing from 
any one; and when we behold a shipwrecked person on the shore of 
the sea or on an island, we take him with us, and feed him and give 
him to drink; and if he be naked, we clothe him; and when we 
arrive at the port of safety, we give him something of our property 
as a present, and act towards him with kindness and favour for the 
sake of God, whose name be exalted! — So upon this I offered up 
prayers for the prolongation of his life. 

We ceased not to proceed on our voyage from island to island 
and from sea to sea. I hoped to escape, and was rejoiced at my 
safety; but every time that I reflected upon my abode in the cavern 
with my wife, my reason left me. We pursued our course until we 
arrived at the Island of the Bell, when we proceeded to the island of 
Kela in six days. Then we came to the kingdom of Kela, which is 
adjacent to India, and in it are a mine of lead, and places where the 
Indian cane groweth, and excellent camphor; and its King is a King 
of great dignity, whose dominion extendeth over the Island of the 
Bell. In it is a city called the City of the Bell, which is two days' 
journey in extent. — At length, by the providence of God, we arrived 
in safety at the city of El-Basrah, where I landed, and remained a 


few days; after which I came to the city of Baghdad, and to my 
quarter, and entered my house, met my family and my companions, 
and made inquiries respecting them; and they rejoiced at my safety, 
and congratulated me. I stored all the commodities that I had 
brought with me in my magazines, gave alms and presents, and clad 
the orphans and the widows; and I became in a state of the utmost 
joy and happiness, and returned to my former habit of associating 
with familiars and companions and brothers, and indulging in sport 
and merriment. — Such were the most wonderful of the events that 
happened to me in the course of the fourth voyage. But, O my 
brother, [O Sindibad of the Land,] sup thou with me, and observe 
thy custom by coming to me to-morrow, when I will inform thee 
what happened to me and what befell me during the fifth voyage; 
for it was more wonderful and extraordinary than the preceding 

The Fifth Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

Know, O my brothers, that when I returned from the fourth 
voyage, and became immersed in sport and merriment and joy, 
and had forgotten all that I had experienced, and what had befallen 
me, and what I had suffered, by reason of my excessive joy at the 
gain and profit and benefits that I had obtained, my mind again 
suggested to me to travel, and to divert myself with the sight of the 
countries of other people, and the islands. So I arose and meditated 
upon that subject, and bought precious goods, suited for a sea- 
voyage. I packed up the bales, and departed from the city of Bagh- 
dad to the city of El-Basrah; and, walking along the bank of the 
river, I saw a great, handsome, lofty vessel, and it pleased me; where- 
fore I purchased it. Its apparatus was new, and I hired for it a 
master and sailors, over whom I set my black slaves and my pages as 
superintendents, and I embarked in it my bales. And there came to 
me a company of merchants, who also embarked their bales in it, 
and paid me hire. We set sail in the utmost joy and happiness, and 
rejoicing in the prospect of safety and gain, and ceased not to pursue 
our voyage from island to island and from sea to sea, diverting our- 
selves with viewing the islands and towns, and landing at them and 
selling and buying. Thus we continued to do until we arrived one 
day at a large island, destitute of inhabitants. There was no person 


Upon it: it was deserted and desolate; but on it was an enormous 
white dome, o£ great bulk; and we landed to amuse ourselves with 
a sight of it, and, lo, it was a great egg of a rukh. Now when the 
merchants had landed, and were diverting themselves with viewing 
it, not knowing that it was the egg of a rukh, they struck it with 
stones; whereupon it broke, and there poured down from it a great 
quantity of liquid, and the young rukh appeared within it. So they 
pulled it and drew it forth from the shell, and killed it, and took 
from it abundance of meat. I was then in the ship, and knew not 
of it, and they acquainted me not with that which they did. But in 
the mean time one of the passengers said to me, O my master, arise 
and divert thyself with the sight of this egg which we imagined to 
be a dome. I therefore arose to take a view of it, and found the 
merchants striking the egg. I called out to them. Do not this deed; 
for the rukh will come and demoUsh our ship, and destroy us. But 
they would not hear my words. 

And whilei they were doing as above related, behold, the sun 
became concealed from us, and the day grew dark, and there came 
over us a cloud by which the sky was obscured. So we raised our 
heads to see what had intervened between us and the sun, and saw 
that the wings of the rukh were what veiled from us the sun's light, 
so that the sky was darkened. And when the rukh came, and beheld 
its egg broken, it cried out at us; whereupon its mate, the female 
bird, came to it, and they flew in circles over the ship, crying out at 
us with a voice more vehement than thunder. So I called out to the 
master and the sailors, and said to them. Push off the vessel, and 
seek safety before we perish. The master therefore hastened, and, 
the merchants having embarked, he loosed the ship, and we de- 
parted from that island. And when the rukhs saw that we had put 
forth to sea, they absented themselves from us for a while. We 
proceeded, and made speed, desiring to escape from them, and to 
quit their country; but, lo, they had followed us, and they now 
approached us, each of them having in its claws a huge mass of 
rock from a mountain; and the male bird threw the rock that he 
had brought upon us. The master, however, steered away the ship, 
and the mass of rock missed her by a little space. It descended into 
the sea by the ship, and the ship went up with us, and down, by 


reason of the mighty plunging of the rock, and we beheld the bot- 
tom of the sea in consequence of its vehement force. Then the 
mate of the male rukh threw upon us the rock that she had brought, 
which was smaller than the former one, and, as destiny had ordained, 
it fell upon the stern of the ship, and crushed it, making the rudder 
fly into twenty pieces, and all that was in the ship became sub- 
merged in the sea. 

I strove to save myself, impelled by the sweetness of life, and God 
(whose name be exalted!) placed within my reach one of the planks 
of the ship; so I caught hold of it, and, having got upon it, began 
to row upon it with my feet, and the wind and the waves helped 
me forward. The vessel had sunk near an island in the midst of the 
sea, and destiny cast me, by permission of God (whose name be 
exalted!), to that island. I therefore landed upon it; but I was at 
my last breath, and in the state of the dead, from the violence of 
the fatigue and distress and hunger and thirst that I had suffered. I 
then threw myself down upon the shore of the sea, and remained 
lying there a while, until my soul felt at ease, and my heart was 
tranquillized, when I walked along the island, and saw that it 
resembled one of the gardens of Paradise. Its trees bore ripe fruits, 
its rivers were flowing, and its birds were warbling the praises of 
Him to whom belongeth might and permanence. Upon that island 
was an abundance of trees and fruits, with varieties of flowers. So I 
ate of the fruits until I was satiated, and I drank of those rivers until 
I was satisfied with drink; and I praised God (whose name be 
exalted!) for this, and glorified Him. I then remained sitting upon 
the island till evening came, and night approached; whereupon I 
rose; but I was like a slain man, by reason of the fatigue and fear 
that I had experienced; and I heard not in that island a voice, nor 
did I see in it any person. 

I slept there without interruption until the morning, and then 
rose and stood up, and walked among the trees; and I saw a stream- 
let, by which sat an old man, a comely person, who was clad from 
the waist downwards with a covering made of the leaves of trees. 
So I said within myself. Perhaps this old man hath landed upon this 
island and is one of the shipwrecked persons with whom the vessel 
fell to pieces. I then approached him and saluted him, and he 


returned the salutation by a sign, without speaking; and I said to 
him, O sheykh, what is the reason of thy sitting in this place? 
Whereupon he shook his head, and sighed, and made a sign to me 
with his hand, as though he would say. Carry me upon thy neck, 
and transport me from this place to the other side of the streamlet. I 
therefore said within myself, I will act kindly with this person, and 
transport him to this place to which he desireth to go: perhaps I 
shall obtain for it a reward [in heaven]. Accordingly I advanced 
to him, and took him upon my shoulders, and conveyed him to the 
place that he had indicated to me; when I said to him. Descend at 
thine ease. But he descended not from my shoulders. He had 
twisted his legs round my neck, and I looked at them, and I saw 
that they were like the hide of the buffalo in blackness and rough- 
ness. So I was frightened at him, and desired to throw him down 
from my shoulders; but he pressed upon my neck with his feet, 
and squeezed my throat, so that the world became black before my 
face, and I was unconscious of my existence, falling upon the ground 
in a fit, like one dead. He then raised his legs, and beat me upon 
my back and my shoulders; and I suffered violent pain; wherefore 
I rose with him. He still kept his seat upon my shoulders, and I had 
become fatigued with bearing him; and he made a sign to me that 
I should go in among the trees, to the best of the fruits. When I 
disobeyed him, he inflicted upon me, with his feet, blows more 
violent than those of whips; and he ceased not to direct me with 
his hand to every place to which he desired to go, and to that place 
I went with him. If I loitered, or went leisurely, he beat me* and 
I was as a captive to him. We went into the midst of the island, 
among the trees, and he descended not from my shoulders by night 
nor by day : when he desired to sleep, he would wind his legs round 
my neck, and sleep a little, and then he would arise and beat me, 
whereupon I would arise with him quickly, unable to disobey him, 
by reason of the severity of that which I suffered from him; and 
I blamed myself for having taken him up, and having had pity on 
him. I continued with him in this condition, enduring the most 
violent fatigue, and said within myself, I did a good act unto this 
person, and it hath become an evil to myself! By Allah, I will never 
more do good unto any one as long as I live! — I begged of God 


(whose name be exalted!), at every period and in every hour, that 
I might die, in consequence of the excessive fatigue and distress 
that I suffered. 

Thus I remained for a length of time, until I carried him one 
day to a place in the island where I found an abundance of pump- 
kins, many of which were dry. Upon this I took a large one that 
was dry, and, having opened its upper extremity, and cleansed it, 
I went with it to a grape-vine, and filled it with the juice of the 
grapes. I then stopped up the aperture, and put it in the sun, and 
left it for some days, until it had become pure wine; and every day 
I used to drink of it, to help myself to endure the fatigue that I 
underwent with that obstinate devil; for whenever I was intoxicated 
by it, my energy was strengthened. So, seeing me one day drinking, 
he made a sign to me with his hand, as though he would say. What 
is this? And I answered him. This is something agreeable, that 
invigorateth the heart, and dilateth the mind. Then I ran with him, 
and danced among the trees; I was exhilarated by intoxication, and 
clapped my hands, and sang, and was joyful. Therefore when he 
beheld me in this state, he made a sign to me to hand him the 
pumpkin, that he might drink from it; and I feared him, and gave 
it to him; whereupon he drank what remained in it, and threw it 
upon the ground, and, being moved with merriment, began to shake 
upon my shoulders. He then became intoxicated, and drowned in 
intoxication; all his limbs, and the muscles of his sides, became re- 
laxed, and he began to lean from side to side upon my shoulders. 
So when I knew that he was drunk, and that he was unconscious 
of existence, I put my hand to his feet, and loosed them from my 
neck. Then I stooped with him, and sat down, and threw him upon 
the ground. I scarcely believed that I had liberated myself and 
escaped from the state in which I had been; but I feared him, lest 
he should arise from his intoxication, and torment me. I therefore 
took a great mass of stone from among the trees, and, coming to 
him, struck him upon his head as he lay asleep, so that his flesh 
became mingled with his blood, and he was killed. May no mercy 
of God be on him! 

After that, I walked about the island, with a happy mind, and 
came to the place where I was before, on the shore of the sea. And 


I remained upon that island eating of its fruits, and drinking of the 
water of its rivers, for a length of time, and watching to see some 
vessel passing by me, until I was sitting one day, reflecting upon 
the events that had befallen me and happened to me, and I said 
within myself, I wonder if God will preserve me in safety, and if I 
shall return to my country, and meet my family and my compan- 
ions. And, lo, a vessel approached from the midst of the roaring sea 
agitated with waves, and it ceased not in its course until it anchored 
at that island; whereupon the passengers landed there. So I walked 
towards them; and when they beheld me, they all quickly ap- 
proached me and assembled around me, inquiring respecting my 
state, and the cause of my coming to that island. I therefore ac- 
quainted them with my case, and with the events that had befallen 
me; whereat they wondered extremely. And they said to me. This 
man who rode upon thy shoulders is called the Old Man of the Sea, 
and no one ever was beneath his limbs and escaped from him except 
thee; and praise be to God for thy safety! Then they brought me 
some food, and I ate until I was satisfied; and they gave me some 
clothing, which I put on, covering myself decently. After this, they 
took me with them in the ship; and when we had proceeded days 
and nights, destiny drove us to a city of lofty buildings, all the 
houses of which overlooked the sea. That city is called the City of 
the Apes; and when the night cometh, the people who reside in it 
go forth from the doors that open upon the sea, and, embarking in 
boats and ships, pass the night upon the sea, in their fear of the apes, 
lest they should come down upon them in the night from the 

I landed to divert myself in this city, and the ship set sail with- 
out my knowledge. So I repented of my having landed there, re- 
membering my companions, and what had befallen them from the 
apes, first and afterwards; and I sat weeping and mourning. And 
thereupon a man of the inhabitants of the city advanced to me and 
said to me, O my master, it seemeth that thou art a stranger in this 
country. I therefore replied. Yes: I am a stranger, and a poor man. 
I was in a ship which anchored at this city, and I landed from it to 
divert myself in the city, and returned, but saw not the ship. — And 
he said, Arise and come with us, and embark in the boat; for if 


thou remain in the city during the night, the apes will destroy thee. 
So I replied, I hear and obey. I arose immediately, and embarked 
with the people in the boat, and they pushed it ofJ from the land 
until they had propelled it from the shore of the sea to the distance 
of a mile. They passed the night, and I with them; and when the 
morning came, they returned in the boat to the city, and landed, and 
each of them went to his occupation. Such hath been always their 
custom, every night; and to every one of them who remaineth be- 
hind in the city during the night, the apes come, and they destroy 
him. In the day, the apes go forth from the city, and eat of the 
fruits in the gardens, and sleep in the mountains until the evening, 
when they return to the city. And this city is in the furthest parts 
of the country of the blacks. — Among the most wonderful of the 
events that happened to me in the treatment that I met with from 
its inhabitants, was this. A person of the party with whom I passed 
the night said to me, O my master, thou art a stranger in this coun- 
try. Art thou skilled in any art with which thou may est occupy thy- 
self?— And I answered him, No, by Allah, O my brother: I am 
acquainted with no art, nor do I know how to make any thing. I 
was a merchant, a person of wealth and fortune, and I had a ship, 
my own property, laden with abundant wealth and goods; but it 
was wrecked in the sea, and all that was in it sank, and I escaped not 
drowning but by the permission of God; for He provided me with 
a piece of a plank, upon which I placed myself; and it was the 
means of my escape from drowning. — And upon this the man arose 
and brought me a cotton bag, and said to me. Take this bag, and 
fill it with pebbles from this city, and go forth with a party of the 
inhabitants. I will associate thee with them, and give them a charge 
respecting thee, and do thou as they shall do. Perhaps thou wilt 
accomplish that by means of which thou wilt be assisted to make 
thy voyage, and to return to thy country. 

Then that man took me and led me forth from the city, and I 
picked up small pebbles, with which I filled that bag. And, lo, a 
party of men came out from the city, and he associated me with 
them, giving them a charge respecting me, and saying to them. This 
is a stranger; so take him with you, and teach him the mode of 
gathering. Perhaps he may gain the means of subsistence, and ye 


will obtain [from God] a reward and recompense. — And they 
replied, We hear and obey. They welcomed me, and took me with 
them, and proceeded, each of them having a bag like mine, filled 
with pebbles; and we ceased not to pursue our way until we arrived 
at a wide valley, wherein were many lofty trees, which no one could 
climb. In that valley were also many apes, which, when they saw 
us, fled from us, and ascended those trees. Then the men began to 
pelt the apes with the stones that they had with them in the bags; 
upon which the apes began to pluck off the fruits of those trees, and 
to throw them at the men; and I looked at the fruits which the apes 
threw down, and, lo, they were cocoa-nuts. Therefore when I beheld 
the party do thus, I chose a great tree, upon which were many apes, 
and, advancing to it, proceeded to pelt those apes with stones; and 
they broke off nuts from the tree and threw them at me. So I col- 
lected them as the rest of the party did, and the stones were not 
exhausted from my bag until I had collected a great quantity. And 
when the party had ended this work, they gathered together all 
that was with them, and each of them carried off as many of the 
nuts as he could. We then returned to the city during the remainder 
of the day, and I went to the man, my companion, who had asso- 
ciated me with the party, and gave him all that I had collected, 
thanking him for his kindness. But he said to me. Take these and 
sell them, and make use of the price. And afterwards he gave me 
the key of a place in his house, and said to me. Put here these nuts 
that thou hast remaining with thee, and go forth every day with 
the party as thou hast done this day; and of what thou bringest, 
separate the bad, and sell them, and make use of their price; and 
the rest keep in thy possession in this place. Perhaps thou wilt 
accumulate of them what will aid thee to make thy voyage. — So I 
replied. Thy reward is due from God, whose name be exalted! I 
did as he told me, and continued every day to fill the bag with 
stones, and to go forth with the people, and do as they did. They 
used to commend me, one to another, and to guide me to the tree 
upon which was abundance of fruit; and I ceased not to lead this 
life for a length of time, so that I collected a great quantity of good 
cocoa-nuts, and I sold a great quantity, the price of which became a 
large sum in my possession. I bought every thing that I saw and 


that pleased me, my time was pleasant, and my good fortune in- 
creased throughout the whole city. 

I remained in this state for some time; after which, as I was 
standing by the seaside, lo, a vessel arrived at that city, and cast 
anchor by the shore. In it were merchants, with their goods, and 
they proceeded to sell and buy, and to exchange their goods for 
cocoa-nuts and other things. So I went to my companion, informed 
him of the ship that had arrived, and told him that I desired to 
make the voyage to my country. And he replied. It is thine to deter- 
mine. I therefore bade him farewell, and thanked him for his kind- 
ness to me. Then I went to the ship, and, accosting the master, 
engaged with him for my passage, and embarked in that ship the 
cocoa-nuts and other things that I had with me, after which they 
set sail that same day. We continued our course from island to 
island and from sea to sea, and at every island at which we cast 
anchor I sold some of those cocoa-nuts, and exchanged; and God 
compensated me with more than I had before possessed and lost. 
We passed by an island in which are cinnamon and pepper, and 
some persons told us that they had seen, upon every bunch of pepper, 
a large leaf that shadeth it and wardeth from it the rain whenever 
it raineth; and when the rain ceaseth to fall upon it, the leaf turneth 
over from the bunch, and hangeth down by its side. From that 
island I took with me a large quantity of pepper and cinnamon, in 
exchange for cocoa-nuts. We passed also by the Island of El-*Asirat, 
which is that wherein is the Kamari aloes-wood. And after that, 
we passed by another island, the extent of which is five days' jour- 
ney, and in it is the Sanfi aloes-wood, which is superior to the 
Kamari; but the inhabitants of this island are worse in condition 
and religion than the inhabitants of the island of the Kamari aloes- 
wood; for they love depravity and the drinking of wines, and know 
not the call to prayer, nor the act of prayer. And we came after 
that to the pearl-fisheries; whereupon I gave to the divers some 
cocoa-nuts, and said to them. Dive for my luck and lot. Accordingly 
they dived in the bay there, and brought up a great number of large 
and valuable pearls; and they said to me, O my master, by Allah, 
thy fortune is good! So I took up into the ship what they had 
brought up for me, and we proceeded, relying on the blessing of 


God (whose name be exalted!), and continued our voyage until we 
arrived at El-Basrah, where I landed, and remained a short time. 
I then went thence to the city of Baghdad, entered my quarter, came 
to my house, and saluted my family and companions, who con- 
gratulated me on my safety. I stored all the goods and commodities 
that I had brought with me, clothed the orphans and the widows, 
bestowed alms and gifts, and made presents to my family and my 
companions and my friends. God had compensated me with four 
times as much as I had lost, and I forgot what had happened to me, 
and the fatigue that I had suffered, by reason of the abundance of 
my gain and profits, and resumed my first habits of familiar inter- 
course and fellowship. — Such were the most wonderful things that 
happened to me in the course of the fifth voyage: but sup ye, and 
to-morrow come again, and I will relate to you the events of the 
sixth voyage; for it was more wonderful than this. 

The Sixth Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

Know, O my brothers and my friends and my companions, that 
when I returned from! that fifth voyage, and forgot what I had 
suffered, by reason of sport and merriment and enjoyment and 
gayety, and was in a state of the utmost joy and happiness, I con- 
tinued thus until I was sitting one day in exceeding delight and hap- 
piness and gayety; and while I sat, lo, a party of merchants came to 
me, bearing the marks of travel. And upon this I remembered the 
days of my return from travel, and my joy at meeting my family and 
companions and friends, and at entering my country; and my soul 
longed again for travel and commerce. So I determined to set forth. 
I bought for myself precious, sumptuous goods, suitable for the sea, 
packed up my bales, and went from the city of Baghdad to the city 
of El-Basrah, where I beheld a large vessel, in which were mer- 
chants and great men, and with them were precious goods. I there- 
fore embarked my bales with them in this ship, and we departed in 
safety from the city of El-Basrah. We continued our voyage from 
place to place and from city to city, selling and buying, and divert- 
ing ourselves with viewing different countries. Fortune and the 
voyage were pleasant to us, and we gained our subsistence, until we 


were proceeding one day, and, lo, the master o£ the ship vociferated 
and called out, threw down his turban, slapped his face, plucked 
his beard, and fell down in the hold of the ship by reason of the 
violence of his grief and rage. So all the merchants and other 
passengers came together to him and said to him, O master, what 
is the matter ? And he answered them, Know, O company, that we 
have wandered from our course, having passed forth from the sea 
in which we were, and entered a sea of which we know not the 
routes; and if God appoint not for us some means of effecting our 
escape from this sea, we all perish: therefore pray to God (whose 
name be exalted!) that He may save us from this case. Then the 
master arose and ascended the mast, and desired to loose the sails; 
but the wind became violent upon the ship, and drove her back, and 
her rudder broke near a lofty mountain; whereupon the master de- 
scended from the mast, and said. There is no strength nor power 
but in God, the High, the Great! No one is able to prevent what is 
predestined! By Allah, we have fallen into a great peril, and there 
remaineth to us no way of safety or escape from it! — So all the 
passengers wept for themselves : they bade one another farewell, be- 
cause of the expiration of their lives, and their hope was cut off. The 
vessel drove upon that mountain, and went to pieces; its planks were 
scattered, and all that was in it was submerged; the merchants fell 
into the sea, and some of them were drowned, and some caught 
hold upon that mountain, and landed upon it. 

I was of the number of those who landed upon the mountain; 
and, lo, within it was a large island. By it were many vessels broken 
in pieces, and upon it were numerous goods, on the shore of the 
sea, of the the things thrown up by the sea from the ships that had 
been wrecked, and the passengers of which had been drowned. 
Upon it was an abundance, that confounded the reason and the 
mind, of commodities and wealth that the sea cast upon its shores. 
I ascended to the upper part of the island, and walked about it, and 
I beheld in the midst of it a stream of sweet water, flowing forth 
from beneath the nearest part of the mountain, and entering at the 
furthest part of it, on the opposite side [of the valley] . Then all the 
other passengers went over that mountain to [the interior of] the 
island, and dispersed themselves about it, and their reason was con- 


founded at that which they beheld. They became Hke madmen in 
consequence of what they saw upon the island, of commodities and 
wealth lying on the shore of the sea. I beheld also in the midst of 
the above-mentioned stream an abundance of various kinds of 
jewels and minerals, with jacinths and large pearls, suitable to 
Kings. They were like gravel in the channels of the water which 
flowed through the fields; and all the bed of that stream glittered by 
reason of the great number of minerals and other things that it 
contained. We likewise saw on that island an abundance of the 
best kind of Sanfi aloes-wood, and Kamari aloes-wood. And in that 
island is a gushing spring of crude ambergris, which floweth like 
wax over the side of that spring through the violence of the heat of 
the sun, and spreadeth upon the sea-shore, and the monsters of the 
deep come up from the sea and swallow it, and descend with it into 
the sea; but it becometh hot in their stomachs, therefore they eject 
it from their mouths into the sea, and it congealeth on the surface 
of the water. Upon this, its colour and its qualities become changed, 
and the waves cast it up on the shore of the sea : so the travellers and 
merchants who know it take it and smell it. But as to the crude 
ambergris that is not swallowed, it floweth over the side of that 
mountain, and congealeth upon the ground; and when the sun 
shineth upon it, it melteth, and from it the odour of the whole of 
that valley becometh like the odour of musk. Then, when the sun 
withdraweth from it, it congealeth again. The place wherein is this 
crude ambergris no one can enter: no one can gain access to it: for 
the mountain surroundeth that island. 

We continued to wander about the island, diverting ourselves with 
the view of the good things which God (whose name be exalted!) 
had created upon it, and perplexed at our case, and at the things 
that we beheld, and aflfected with violent fear. We had collected 
upon the shore of the sea a small quantity of provisions, and we used 
it sparingly, eating of it every day, or two days, only one meal, 
dreading the exhaustion of our stock, and our dying in sorrow, from 
the violence of hunger and fear. Each one of us that died we washed, 
and shrouded in some of the clothes and linen which the sea cast 
upon the shore of the island; and thus we did until a great number 
of us had died, and there remained of us but a small party, who 


were weakened by a colic occasioned by the sea. After this, we 
remained a short period, and all my associates and companions 
died, one after another, and each of them who died we buried. Then 
I was alone on that island, and there remained with me but little 
of the provisions, after there had been much. So I wept for myself, 
and said, Would that I had died before my companions, and that 
they had washed me and buried me! There is no strength nor power 
but in God, the High, the Great! — And I remained a short time 
longer; after which I arose and dug for myself a deep grave on the 
shore of the island, and said within myself. When I fall sick, and 
know that death hath come to me, I will lie down in this grave, and 
die in it, and the wind will blow the sand upon me, and cover me; 
so I shall become buried in it. I blamed myself for my little sense, 
and my going forth from my country and my city, and my voyaging 
to foreign countries, after what I had suffered in the first instance, 
and the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth; and when 
I had not performed one of my voyages without suffering in it 
horrors and distresses more troublesome and more difficult than the 
horrors preceding. I believed not that I could escape and save my- 
self, and repented of undertaking sea-voyages, and of my returning 
to this life when I was not in want of wealth, but had abundance, 
so that I could not consume what I had, nor spend half of it during 
the rest of my Hfe; having enough for me, and more than enough. 

Then I meditated in my mind, and said, This river must have a 
beginning and an end, and it must have a place of egress into an 
inhabited country. The right plan in my opinion will be for me to 
construct for myself a small raft, of sufficient size for me to sit upon 
it, and I will go down and cast it upon this river, and depart on it. 
If I find safety, I am safe, and escape, by permission of God (whose 
name be exalted!); and if I find no way of saving myself, it will 
be better for me to die in this river than in this place. — And I sighed 
for myself. Then I arose and went and collected pieces of wood 
that were upon that island, of Sanfi and Kamari aloes-wood, and 
bound them upon the shore of the sea with some of the ropes of 
the ships that had been wrecked; and I brought some straight planks, 
of the planks of the ships, and placed them upon those pieces of 
wood. I made the raft to suit the width of the river, less wide than 


the latter, and bound it well and firmly; and having taken with me 
some of those minerals and jewels and goods, and of the large pearls 
that were like gravel, as well as other things that were upon the 
island, and some of the crude, pure, excellent ambergris, I put them 
upon that raft, with all that I had collected upon the island, and 
took with me what remained of the provisions. I then launched the 
raft upon the river, made for it two pieces of wood like oars, and 
acted in accordance with the following saying of one of the poets : — 

Depart from a place wherein is oppression, and leave the house to tell 

its builder's fate; 
For thou wilt find, for the land that thou quittest, another; but no soul 

wilt thou find to replace thine own. 
Grieve not on account of nocturnal calamities; since every affliction will 

have its end; 
And he whose death is decreed to take place in one land will not die in 

any land but that. 
Send not thy messenger on an errand of importance; for the soul hath 

no faithful minister save itself. 

I departed upon the raft along the river, meditating upon what 
might be the result of my case, and proceeded to the place where 
the river entered beneath the mountain. I propelled the raft into 
that place, and became in intense darkness within it, and the raft 
continued to carry me in with the current to a narrow place beneath 
the mountain, where the sides of the raft rubbed against the sides 
of the channel of the river, and my head rubbed against the roof 
of the channel. I was unable to return thence, and I blamed myself 
for that which I had done, and said. If this place become narrower 
to the raft, it will scarcely pass through it, and it cannot return: so 
I shall perish in this place in sorrow, inevitably! I threw myself 
upon my face on the raft, on account of the narrowness of the chan- 
nel of the river, and ceased not to proceed, without knowing night 
from day, by reason of the darkness in which I was involved be- 
neath that mountain, together with my terror and fear for myself lest 
I should perish. In this state I continued my course along the river, 
which sometimes widened and at other times contracted; but the 
intensity of the darkness wearied me excessively, and slumber over- 
came me in consequence of the violence of my distress. So I lay 


Upon my face on the raft, which ceased not to bear me along while 
I slept, and knew not whether the time was long or short. 

At length I awoke, and found myself in the light; and, opening 
my eyes, I beheld an extensive tract, and the raft tied to the shore of 
an island, and around me a company of Indians, and [people like] 
Abyssinians. When they saw that I had risen, they rose and came 
to me, and spoke to me in their language; but I knew not what 
they said, and imagined that it was a dream, and that this occurred 
in sleep, by reason of the violence of my distress and vexation. And 
when they spoke to me and I understood not their speech, and 
returned them not an answer, a man among them advanced to me, 
and said to me, in the Arabic language. Peace be on thee, O our 
brother! What art thou, and whence hast thou come, and what is 
the cause of thy coming to this place? We are people of the sown 
lands and the fields, and we came to irrigate our fields and our sown 
lands, and found thee asleep on the raft: so we laid hold upon it, 
and tied it here by us, waiting for thee to rise at thy leisure. Tell 
us then what is the cause of thy coming to this place. — I replied, 
I conjure thee by Allah, O my master, that thou bring me some 
food; for I am hungry; and after that, ask of me concerning what 
thou wilt. And thereupon he hastened, and brought me food, and 
I ate until I was satiated and was at ease, and my fear subsided, my 
satiety was abundant, and my soul returned to me. I therefore 
praised God (whose name be exalted!) for all that had occurred, 
rejoiced at my having passed forth from that river, and having 
come to these people; and I told them of all that had happened 
to me from beginning to end, and of what I had experienced upon 
that river, and of its narrowness. They then talked together, and 
said, We must take him with us and present him to our King, that 
he may acquaint him with what hath happened to him. Accord- 
ingly they took me with them, and conveyed with me the raft, to- 
gether with all that was upon it, of riches and goods, and jewels and 
minerals, and ornaments of gold, and they took me in to their King, 
who was the King of Sarandib,^ and acquainted him with what had 
happened; whereupon he saluted me and welcomed me, and asked 
me respecting my state, and respecting the events that had happened 

^ Ceylon. 


to me. I therefore acquainted him with all my story, and what I had 
experienced, from the first to last; and the King wondered at this 
narrative extremely, and congratulated me on my safety. Then I 
arose and took forth from the raft a quantity of the minerals and 
jewels, and aloes-wood and crude ambergris, and gave it to the 
King; and he accepted it from me, and treated me with exceeding 
honour, lodging me in a place in his abode. I associated with the 
best and the greatest of the people, who paid me great respect, and 
I quitted not the abode of the King. 

The island of Sarandib is under the equinoctial line; its night 
being always twelve hours, and its day also twelve hours. Its length 
is eighty leagues; and its breadth, thirty; and it extendeth largely 
between a lofty mountain and a deep valley. This mountain is seen 
from a distance of three days, and it containeth varieties of jacinths, 
and different kinds of minerals, and trees of all sorts of spices, and 
its surface is covered with emery, wherewith jewels are cut into 
shape: in its rivers also are diamonds, and pearls are in its valleys. 
I ascended to the summit of the mountain, and diverted myself with 
a view of its wonders, which are not to be described; and afterwards 
I went back to the King, and begged him to give me permission to 
return to my country. He gave me permission after great pressing, 
and bestowed upon me an abundant present from his treasuries; and 
he gave me a present and a sealed letter, saying to me, Convey these 
to the Khahfeh Harun Er-Rashid, and give him many salutations 
from us. So I replied, I hear and obey. Then he wrote for me a letter 
on skin of the khawi, which is finer than parchment, of yellowish 
colour; and the writing was in ultramarine. And the form of what 
he wrote to the Khalifeh was this: — Peace be on thee, from the 
King of India, before whom are a thousand elephants, and on the 
battlements of whose palace are a thousand jewels. To proceed: we 
have sent to thee a trifling present: accept it then from us. Thou 
art to us a brother and sincere friend, and the affection for you that 
is in our hearts is great : therefore favour us by a reply. The present 
is not suited to thy dignity; but we beg of thee, O brother, to accept 
it graciously. And peace be on thee! — And the present was a cup 
of ruby, a span high, the inside of which was embeUished with 
precious pearls; and a bed covered with the skin of the serpent that 


swalloweth the elephant, which skin hath spots, each hke a piece 
of gold, and whosoever sitteth upon it never becometh diseased, and 
a hundred thousand mithkals of Indian aloes-wood; and a slave-girl 
like the shining full moon. Then he bade me farewell, and gave 
a charge respecting me to the merchants and the master of the ship. 
So I departed thence, and we continued our voyage from island 
to island and from country to country until we arrived at Baghdad, 
whereupon I entered my house, and met my family and my brethren; 
after which I took the present, with a token of service from myself 
for the Khalifeh. On entering his presence, I kissed his hand, and 
placed before him the whole, giving him the letter; and he read 
it, and took the present, with which he was greatly rejoiced, and 
he treated me with the utmost honour. He then said to me, O 
Sindibad, is that true which this King hath stated in his letter? 
And I kissed the ground, and answered, O my lord, I witnessed in 
his kingdom much more than he hath mentioned in his letter. On 
the day of his public appearance, a throne is set for him upon a huge 
elephant, eleven cubits high, and he sitteth upon it, having with him 
his chief officers and pages and guests, standing in two ranks, on his 
right and on his left. At his head standeth a man having in his 
hand a golden javeUn, and behind him a man in whose hand is a 
great mace of gold, at the top of which is an emerald a span in 
length, and of the thickness of a thumb. And when he mounteth, 
there mount at the same time with him a thousand horsemen clad 
in gold and silk; and as the King proceedeth, a man before him pro- 
claimeth, saying, This is the King of great dignity, of high authority! 
And he proceedeth to repeat his praises in terms that I remember 
not, at the end of his panegyric saying, This is the King the owner 
of the crown the like of which neither Suleyman nor the Mihraj 
possessed! Then he is silent; and one behind him proclaimeth, say- 
ing, He will die! Again I say, He will die! Again I say. He will die! 
— And the other saith. Extolled be the perfection of the Living who 
dieth not! — Moreover, by reason of his justice and good government 
and intelligence, there is no Kadi in his city; and all the people of 
his country distinguish the truth from falsity. — And the Khalifeh 
wondered at my words, and said, How great is this King! His letter 
hath shewn me this; and as to the greatness of his dominion, thou 


hast told us what thou hast witnessed. By Allah, he hath been 
endowed with wisdom and dominion! — Then the Khalifeh con- 
ferred favours upon me, and commanded me to depart to my abode. 
So I came to my house, and gave the legal and other alms, and 
continued to live in the same pleasant circumstances as at present. 
I forgot the arduous troubles that I had experienced, discarded from 
my heart the anxieties of travel, rejected from my mind distress, an(/ 
betook myself to eating and drinking, and pleasures and joy. 

The Seventh Voyage of Es-Sindibad of the Sea 

When I relinquished voyaging, and the affairs of commerce, I said 
within myself. What hath happened to me sufficeth me. And my 
time was spent in joy and pleasures. But while I was sitting one day, 
the door was knocked : so the door-keeper opened, and a page of the 
Khalifeh entered and said. The Khalifeh summoneth thee. I there- 
fore went with him to his majesty, and kissed the ground before him 
and saluted him, whereupon he welcomed me and treated me with 
honour; and he said to me, O Sindibad, I have an alfair for thee to 
perform. Wilt thou do it? — So I kissed his hand, and said to him, 

my lord, what affair hath the master for the slave to perform? 
And he answered me, I desire that thou go to the King of Sarandib, 
and convey to him our letter and our present; for he sent to us a 
present and a letter. And I trembled thereat, and replied. By Allah 
the Great, O my lord, I have taken a hatred to voyaging; and when 
a voyage on the sea, or any other travel, is mentioned to me, my 
joints tremble, in consequence of what hath befallen me and what 

1 have experienced of troubles and horrors, and I have no desire 
for that whatever. Moreover I have bound myself by an oath not 
to go forth from Baghdad. — Then I informed the Khalifeh of all 
that had befallen me from the first to last; and he wondered ex- 
ceedingly, and said. By Allah the Great, O Sindibad, it hath not 
been heard from times of old that such events have befallen any 
one as have befallen thee, and it is incumbent on thee that thou 
never mention the subject of travel. But for my sake thou wilt go 
this time, and convey our present and our* letter to the King of 
Sarandib; and thou shalt return quickly if it be the will of God 


(whose name be exalted!), that we may no longer have a debt o£ 
favour and courtesy to the King. — So I replied that I heard and 
obeyed, being unable to oppose his command. He then gave me the 
present and the letter, with money for my expenses, and I kissed his 
hand and departed from him. 

I went from Baghdad to the sea, and embarked in a ship, and we 
proceeded days and nights, by the aid of God (whose name be 
exalted!), until we arrived at the island of Sarandib, and with us 
were many merchants. As soon as we arrived, we landed at the 
city, and I took the present and the letter, and went in with them 
to the King, and kissed the ground before him. And when he saw 
me, he said, A friendly welcome to thee, O Sindibad! By Allah 
the Great, we have longed to see thee, and praise be to God who 
hath shewn us thy face a second time! — Then he took me by the 
hand, and seated me by his side, welcoming me, and treating me 
with familiar kindness, and he rejoiced greatly. He began to con- 
verse with me, and addressed me with courtesy, and said, What was 
the cause of thy coming to us, O Sindibad? So I kissed his hand, 
and thanked him, and answered him, O my lord, I have brought 
thee a present and a letter from my master the Khalifeh Harun 
Er-Rashid. I then offered to him the present and the letter, and he 
read the letter, and rejoiced at it greatly. The present was a horse 
worth ten thousand pieces of gold, with its saddle adorned with 
gold set with jewels; and a book, and a sumptuous dress, and a 
hundred different kinds of white cloths of Egypt, and silks of Es- 
Suweys^ and El-Kufeh and Alexandria, and Greek carpets, and a 
hundred menns of silk and flax, and a wonderful extraordinary cup 
of crystal, in the midst of which was represented the figure of a 
lion with a man kneeling before him and having drawn an arrow 
in his bow with his utmost force, and also the table of Suleyman 
the son of Da'ud, on whom be peace! And the contents of the 
letter were as follows: — Peace from the King Er-Rashid, strength- 
ened by God (who hath given to him and to his ancestors the rank 
of the noble, and wide-spread glory), on the fortunate Sultan. To 
proceed: thy letter hath reached us, and we rejoiced at it; and we 
have sent the book [entitled] the Delight of the Intelligent, and 

"^ Suez. 


the Rare Present for Friends; together with varieties of royal rarities; 
therefore do us the favour to accept them: and peace be on thee! 
— Then the King conferred upon me abundant presents, and treated 
me with the utmost honour; so I prayed for him, and thanked him 
for his beneficence; and some days after that, I begged his per- 
mission to depart; but he permitted me not save after great pressing. 
Thereupon I took leave of him, and went forth from his city, with 
merchants and other companions, to return to my country, without 
any desire for travel or commerce. 

We continued our voyage until we had passed many islands; but 
in the midst of our course over the sea, there appeared to us a number 
of boats, which surrounded us, and in them were men like devils, 
having, in their hands, swords and daggers, and equipped with 
coats of mail, and arms and bows. They smote us, and wounded and 
slew those of us who opposed them, and, having taken the ship with 
its contents, conveyed us to an island, where they sold us as slaves, 
for the smallest price. But a rich man purchased me, and took me 
into his house, fed me and gave me to drink, and clad me and 
treated me in a friendly manner. So my soul was tranquillized, and 
I rested a little. Then, one day, he said to me, Dost thou not know 
any art or trade? I answered him, O my lord, I am a merchant: I 
know nothing but traffic. And he said, Dost thou know the art of 
shooting with the bow and arrow? — ^Yes, I answered: I know that. 
And thereupon he brought me a bow and arrows, and mounted me 
behind him upon an elephant : then he departed at the close of night, 
and, conveying me among some great trees, came to a lofty and firm 
tree, upon which he made me climb; and he gave me the bow and 
arrows, saying to me, Sit here now, and when the elephants come 
in the daytime to this place, shoot at them with the arrows : perhaps 
thou wilt strike one of them; and if one of them fall, come to me and 
inform me. He then left me and departed; and I was terrified and 
frightened. I remained concealed in the tree until the sun rose; 
when the elephants came forth wandering about among the trees, 
and I ceased not to discharge my arrows till I shot one of them. I 
therefore went in the evening to my master, and informed him; and 
he was delighted with mc, and treated me with honour; and he went 
and removed the slain elephant. 


In this manner I continued, every day shooting one, and my 
master coming and removing it, until one day, I w^as sitting in the 
tree, concealed, and suddenly elephants innumerable came forth, 
and I heard the sounds o£ their roaring and growling, which were 
such that I imagined the earth trembled beneath them. They all 
surrounded the tree in which I was sitting, their circuit being fifty 
cubits, and a huge elephant, enormously great, advanced and came 
to the tree, and, having wound his trunk around it, pulled it up by 
the roots, and cast it upon the ground. I fell down senseless among 
the elephants, and the great elephant, approaching me, wound his 
trunk around me, raised me on his back, and went away with me, 
the other elephants accompanying. And he ceased not to proceed 
with me, while I was absent from the world, until he had taken me 
into a place, and thrown me from his back, when he departed, and 
the other elephants followed him. So I rested a little, and my terror 
subsided; and I found myself among the bones of elephants. I knew 
therefore that this was the burial-place of the elephants, and that 
that elephant had conducted me to it on account of the teeth. 

I then arose, and journeyed a day and a night until I arrived at 
the house of my master, who saw me changed in complexion by 
fright and hunger. And he was rejoiced at my return, and said. By 
Allah, thou hast pained our heart; for I went and found the tree 
torn up, and I imagined that the elephants had destroyed thee. Tell 
me, then, how it happened with thee. — So I informed him of that 
which had befallen me; whereat he wondered greatly, and rejoiced; 
and he said to me. Dost thou know that place? I answered, Yes, O 
my master. And he took me, and we went out, mounted on an 
elephant, and proceeded until we came to that place; and when my 
master beheld those numerous teeth, he rejoiced greatly at the sight 
of them; and he carried away as much as he desired, and we re- 
turned to the house. He then treated me with increased favour, 
and said to me, O my son, thou hast directed us to a means of very 
great gain. May God then recompense thee well! Thou art freed 
for the sake of God, whose name be exalted! These elephants used 
to destroy many of us on account of [our seeking] these teeth; but 
God hath preserved thee from them, and thou hast profited us by 
these teeth to which thou hast directed us. — I replied, O my master, 


may God free thy neck from the fire [of Hell] ! And I request of 
thee, O my master, that thou give me permission to depart to my 
country. — ^Yes, said he: thou shalt have that permission: but v^e have 
a fair, on the occasion of which the merchants come to us and pur- 
chase the teeth of these elephants of us. The time of the fair is now 
near; and when they have come to us, I will send thee with them, 
and will give thee what will convey thee to thy country. — So I 
prayed for him and thanked him; and I remained with him treated 
with respect and honour. 

Then, some days after this, the merchants came as he had said, 
and bought and sold and exchanged; and when they were about to 
depart, my master came to me, and said, The merchants are going: 
therefore arise that thou mayest depart with them to thy country. 
Accordingly I arose, determined to go with them. They had bought 
a great quantity of those teeth, and packed up their loads, and em- 
barked them in the ship; and my master sent me with them. He 
paid for me the money for my passage in the ship, together with 
all that was required of me, and gave me a large quantity of goods. 
And we pursued our voyage from island to island until we had 
crossed the sea and landed on the shore, when the merchants took 
forth what was with them, and sold. I also sold what I had at an 
excellent rate; and I purchased some of the most elegant of things 
suited for presents, and beautiful rarities, with every thing that I 
desired. I likewise bought for myself a beast to ride, and we went 
forth, and crossed the deserts from country to country until I 
arrived at Baghdad; when I went in to the Khalifeh, and, having 
given the salutation, and kissed his hand, I informed him of what 
had happened and what had befallen me; whereupon he rejoiced 
at my safety, and thanked God (whose name be exalted!); and he 
caused my story to be written in letters of gold. I then entered my 
house, and met my family and my brethren. — This is the end of the 
history of the events that happened to me during my voyages; and 
praise be to God, the One, the Creator, the Maker! 

And when Es-Sindibad of the Sea had finished his story, he 
ordered his servant to give to Es-Sindibad of the Land a hundred 
pieces of gold, and said to him, How now, O my brother? Hast 


thou heard of the Hke of these afflictions and calamities and distresses, 
or have such troubles as have befallen me befallen any one else, or 
hath any one else suffered such hardships as I have suffered ? Know 
then that these pleasures are a compensation for the toil and humilia- 
tions that I have experienced. — And upon this, Es-Sindibad of the 
Land advanced, and kissed his hands, and said to him, O my lord, 
by Allah, thou hast undergone great horrors, and hast, deserved 
these abundant favours: continue then, O my lord, in joy and 
security; for God hath removed from thee the evils of fortune; and 
I beg of God that He may continue to thee thy pleasures, and bless 
thy days. — And upon this, Es-Sindibad of the Sea bestow^ed favours 
upon him, and made him his boon-companion; and he quitted him 
not by night nor by day as long as they both lived. 

Praise be to God, the Mighty, the Omnipotent, the Strong, the 
Eminent in powder, the Creator of the heaven and the earth, and 
of the land and the seas! 

[Nights 56&-S78] 
The Story of the City of Brass 

THERE was, in olden time, and in an ancient age and period, 
in Damascus of Syria, a King, one o£ the Khalifehs, named 
'Abd-El-Melik the son of Marwan; and he was sitting, one 
day, having with him the great men of his empire, consisting of 
Kings and Sultans, when a discussion took place among them, re- 
specting the traditions of former nations. They called to mind the 
stories of our lord Suleyman the son of Da'ud (on both of whom be 
peace!), and the dominion and authority which God (whose name 
be exalted!) had bestowed upon him over mankind and the Jinn and 
the birds and the wild beasts and other things; and they said, We 
have heard from those who were before us that God (whose per- 
fection be extolled, and whose name be exalted!) bestowed not 
upon any one the like of that which He bestowed upon our lord 
Suleyman, and that he attained to that to which none other attained, 
so that he used to imprison the Jinn and the Marids and the Devils 
in bottles of brass, and pour molten lead over them, and seal this 
cover over them with a signet. 

Then Talib [the son of Sahl] related, that a man embarked in a 
ship with a company of others, and they voyaged to the island of 
Sicily, and ceased not in their course until there arose against them 
a wind which bore them away to one of the lands of God, whose 
name be exalted! This happened during the black darkness of 
night, and when the day shone forth, there came out to them, from 
caves in that land, people of black complexion and with naked 
bodies, Hke wild beasts, not understanding speech. They had a King 
of their own race, and none of them knew Arabic save their King. 
So when they saw the ship and those who were in her, he came 
forth to them attended by a party of his companions, and saluted 
them and welcomed them, and inquired of them respecting their 



religion. They therefore acquainted him with their state; and he 
said to them, No harm shall befall you. And when he asked them 
respecting their religion, each of them was of some one of the 
religions prevailing before the manifestation of El-Islam, and be- 
fore the mission of Mohammad, may God bless and save him! — 
wherefore the people of the ship said, We know not what thou 
sayest. Then the King said to them, There hath not come to us any 
one of the sons of Adam before you. And he entertained them 
with a banquet of the flesh of birds and of wild beasts and of fish, 
beside which they had no food. And after this, the people of the 
ship went down to divert themselves in the city, and they found one 
of the fishermen who had cast his net in the sea to catch fish, and 
he drew it up, and lo, in it was a bottle of brass, stopped with lead, 
which was sealed with the signet of Suleyman the son of Da'ud, 
on both of whom be peace! And the fisherman came forth and 
broke it; whereupon there proceeded from it a blue smoke, which 
united with the clouds of heaven; and they heard a horrible voice, 
saying. Repentance! repentance! O Prophet of God! — Then, of that 
smoke there was formed a person of terrible aspect, of terrific make, 
whose head would reach [as high as] a mountain; and he dis- 
appeared from before their eyes. As to the people of the ship, their 
hearts were almost eradicated; but the blacks thought nothing of 
the event. And a man returned to the King, and asked him re- 
specting this; and the King answered him. Know that this is one of 
the Jinn whom Suleyman the son of Da'ud, when he was incensed 
against them, imprisoned in these bottles, and he poured lead over 
them, and threw them into the sea. When the fisherman casteth his 
net, it generally bringeth up these bottles; and when they are broken, 
there cometh forth from them a Jinni, who imagineth that Suley- 
man is still living; wherefore he repenteth, and saith. Repentance! 
O Prophet of God! 

And the Prince of the Faithful, *Abd-El-Melik the son of Mar- 
wan, wondered at these words, and said. Extolled be the perfection 
of God! Suleyman was endowed with a mighty dominion! — And 
among those who were present in that assembly was En-Nabighah 
Edh-Dhubyani;^ and he said, Talib hath spoken truth in that which 

^ An Arab poet, who, however, died before Islam. 


he hath related, and the proof of his veracity is the saying of the 
Wise, the First, [thus versified] — 

And [consider] Suleyman, when the Deity said to him, Perform the 
office of KhaHfeh, and govern with dihgence; 

And whoso obeyeth thee, honour him for doing so; and whoso dis- 
obey eth thee, imprison him forever. 

He used to put them into bottles of brass, and to cast them into the 
sea. — And the Prince of the Faithful approved of these words, and 
said. By Allah, I desire to see some of these bottles! So Talib the 
son of Sahl replied, O Prince of the Faithful, thou art able to do so, 
and yet remain in thy country. Send to thy brother 'Abd-El-'Aziz, 
the son of Marwan, desiring him to bring them to thee from the 
Western country,^ that he may write orders to Musa^ to journey 
from the Western Country to this mountain which we have men- 
tioned, and to bring thee what thou desirest of these bottles; for the 
furthest tract of his province is adjacent to this mountain. — And the 
Prince of the Faithful approved of his advice, and said, O Talib, 
thou hast spoken truth in that which thou hast said, and I desire 
that thou be my messenger to Musa the son of Nuseyr for this 
purpose, and thou shalt have a white ensign, together with what thou 
shalt desire of wealth or dignity or other things, and I will be thy 
substitute to take care of thy family. To this, Talib replied. Most 
wilHngly, O Prince of the Faithful. And the Khalifeh said to him. 
Go in dependence on the blessing of God, and his aid. Then he gave 
orders that they should write for him a letter to his brother 'Abd- 
El-'Aziz, his viceroy in Egypt, and another letter to Musa, his vice- 
roy in the Western Country, commanding him to journey, himself, 
in search of the bottles of Suleyman, to leave his son to govern the 
country in his stead, and to take with him guides, to expand wealth, 
and to collect a large number of men, and not to be remiss in ac- 
complishing that object, nor to use any pretext to excuse himself. 
He sealed the two letters, and delivered them to Talib the son of 
Sahl, commanding him to hasten, and to elevate the ensigns over 
his head; and he gave him riches and riders and footmen to aid him 

2 El -Maghrib, North Africa. 

3 [The Arab general who conquered North Africa and Spain.] 


in his way : he gave orders also to supply his house with every thing 

So Talib went forth on his way to Egypt. He proceeded with his 
companions, traversing the districts from Syria, until they entered 
Misr;^ when the Governor of Egypt met him, and lodged him with 
him; and he treated him with the utmost honour during the period 
of his stay with him. Then he sent with him a guide who accom- 
panied him to Upper Egypt until they came to the Emir Musa the 
son of Nuseyr; and when he knew of his approach, he went forth 
to him and met him, and rejoiced at his arrival; and Talib handed 
to him the letter. So he took it and read it and understood its mean- 
ing; and he put it upon his head saying, I hear and obey the com- 
mand of the Prince of the Faithful. He determined to summon the 
great men; and they presented themselves; and he inquired of them 
respecting that which had been made known to him by the letter; 
whereupon they said, O Emir, if thou desire him who will guide thee 
to that place, have recourse to the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad the son 
of 'Abd-El-Kuddus El-Masmudi; for he is a knowing man, and hath 
travelled much, and he is acquainted with the deserts and wastes 
and the seas, and their inhabitants and their wonders, and the coun- 
tries and their districts. Have recourse therefore to him, and he 
will direct thee to the objecc of thy desire. Accordingly he gave 
orders to bring him, and he came before him; and, lo, he was a very 
old man, whom the vicissitudes of years and times had rendered 
decrepit. The Emir Musa saluted him, and said to him, O sheykh 
'Abd-Es-Samad, our lord the Prince of the Faithful, 'Abd-El-Melik 
the son of Marwan, hath commanded us thus and thus, and I 
possess little knowledge of that land, and it hath been told me that 
thou art acquainted with that country and the routes. Hast thou 
then a wish to accomplish the aflFair of the Prince of the Faithful ? — 
The sheykh replied. Know, O Emir, that this route is difficult, far 
extending, with few tracks. The Emir said to him. How long a 
period doth it require? He answered, It is a journey of two years 
and some months going, and the like returning; and on the way are 
difficulties and horrors, and extraordinary and wonderful things. 
Moreover, thou art a warrior for the defence of the faith, and our 

* I.e., El-Fustat, "Old Cairo." 


country is near unto the enemy; so perhaps the Christians may come 
forth during our absence: it is expedient therefore that thou leave 
in thy province one to govern it. — He rephed, Well. And he left 
his son Harun as his substitute in his province, exacted an oath of 
fidelity to him, and commanded the troops that they should not 
oppose him, but obey him in all that he should order them to do. 
And they heard his w^ords, and obeyed him. His son Harun was 
of great courage, an illustrious hero, and a bold champion; and the 
sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad pretended to him that the place in v^^hich 
v^ere the things that the Prince of the Faithful desired vv^as four 
months' journey distant, on the shore of the sea, and that through- 
out the whole route were halting-places adjacent one to another, and 
grass and springs. And he said, God will assuredly make this affair 
easy to us through the blessing attendant upon thee, O Viceroy of 
the Prince of the Faithful. Then the Emir Musa said, Knowest thou 
if any one of the Kings have trodden this land before us? He an- 
swered him. Yes, O Emir: this land belonged to the King of 
Alexandria, Darius the Greek. 

After this they departed, and they continued their journey until 
they arrived at a palace; whereupon the sheykh said, Advance with 
us to this palace, which presenteth a lesson to him who will be 
admonished. So the Emir Musa advanced thither, together with the 
sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad and his chief companions, till they came to 
its entrance. And they found it open, and having lofty angles, and 
steps, among which were two wide steps of coloured marbles, the 
like of which hath not been seen: the ceilings and walls were 
decorated with gold and silver and minerals, and over the entrance 
was a slab, whereon was an inscription in ancient Greek; and the 
sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad said. Shall I read it, O Emir? The Emir 
answered, Advance and read. May God bless thee! for nought hath 
happened to us during this journey but what hath been the result 
of the blessing attendant upon thee. — So he read it; and, lo, it was 
poetry; and it was this: — 

Here was a people whom, after their works, thou shalt see wept over 

for their lost dominion; 
And in this palace is the last Information respecting lords collected in 

the dust. 


Death hath destroyed them and disunited them, and in the dust they 

have lost what they amassed; 
As though they had only put down their loads to rest a while: quickly 

have they departed! 

And the Emir Musa wept until he became insensible, and he said, 
There is no deity but God, the Living, the Enduring without 
failure! He then entered the palace, and was confounded by its 
beauty and its construction; and he looked at the figures and images 
that it contained. And, lo, over the second door were inscribed some 
verses. So the Emir Musa said, Advance, O sheykh, and read. Ac- 
cordingly he advanced and read; and the verses were these: — 

How many companies have alighted in the tabernacles since times of 

old, and taken their departure! 
Consider thou then what the accidents of fortune have done with others 

when they have befallen them. 
They have shared together what they collected, and they have left the 

pleasure thereof, and departed. 
What enjoyments they had! and what food did they eat! and then in the 

dust they themselves were eaten! 

And again the Emir Musa wept violently : the world became yellow 
before his face; and he said, We have been created for a great object! 
Then they attentively viewed the palace; and, lo, it was devoid of 
inhabitants, destitute of household and occupants: its courts were 
desolate, and its apartments were deserted; and in the midst of it was 
a chamber covered with a lofty dome, rising high into the air, 
around which were four hundred tombs. To these tombs the Emir 
Musa drew near, and, behold, among them was a tomb constructed 
of marble, whereupon were engraved these verses : — 

How often have I stood [in fight]! and how often slain! and to how 

many things have I been a witness! 
And how often have I eaten! and how often drunk! and how often have 

I heard the songs of beauteous damsels! 
And how often have I ordered! and how often forbidden! and how 

many strong fortresses are seen, 
Which I have besieged and searched, and from which I have taken the 

lovely females' ornaments! 
But in my ignorance I transgressed to obtain things wished for, which 

proved at last to be frail. 


Then consider attentively thy case, O man, before thou shalt drink the 

cup of death; 
For after a little while shall the dust be poured upon thee, and thou 

wilt be lifeless. 

And the Emir Musa, and those who were with him, wept. Then 
he drew near to the dome-crowned chamber, and, lo, it had eight 
doors of sandal-wood, with nails of gold, ornamented with stars of 
silver set with various jewels. And over the first door were inscribed 
these verses: — 

What I have left, I left not from generosity; but through the sentence 

and decree operating upon man. 
Long time I lived, happy and enraged, defending my asylum like a fierce 

I was never quiet, nor would I bestow a mustard-seed, by reason of my 

avarice, though I were cast into the fire. 
Thus did I until I was smitten by the decree of the glorious Deity, the 

Creator, the Maker. 
When my death was appointed soon to take place, I could not prevent it 

by my numerous stratagems; 
My troops that I had collected availed not, and none of my friends aided 

me, nor my neighbour. 
Throughout my whole life was I wearied in my journey to the grave, 

now in ease, and now in difficulty. 
So, when the purses have become laden, shouldst thou accumulate dinar 

upon dinar. 
It will all pass before the morning to another, and they will have brought 

thee a camel-driver and a grave-digger; 
And on the day of thy judgment, lone shalt thou meet God, laden with 

sin and crimes and heavy burdens. 
Then let not the world deceive thee with its beauty; but see what it hath 

done to thy family and neighbour. 

And when the Emir Musa heard these verses, he wept again so 
violently that he became insensible; and after he had recovered, he 
entered the chamber covered with the dome, and beheld in it a long 
tomb, of terrible appearance, whereon was a tablet of iron of China; 
and the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad drew near to it, and read its inscrip- 
tion; and, lo, on it was written, — 

In the name of God, the Eternal, the Everlasting throughout all ages: 
in the name of God, who begetteth not, and who is not begotten, and 
unto whom there is none like: in the name of God, the Mighty and 


Powerful: in the name of the Living who dieth not. — To proceed: — O 
thou who arrivest at this place, be admonished by the misfortunes and 
calamities that thou beholdest, and be not deceived by the world and its 
beauty, and its falsity and calumny, and its fallacy and finery; for it is a 
flatterer, a cheat, a traitor. Its things are borrowed, and it will take the 
loan from the borrower: and it is like the confused visions of the sleeper, 
and the dream of the dreamer, as though it were the sarab^ of the plain, 
which the thirsty imagineth to be water: the Devil adorneth it for man 
until death. These are the characteristics of the world: confide not there- 
fore in it, nor incline to it; for it will betray him who dependeth upon it, 
and who in his affairs relieth upon it. Fall not in its snares, nor cling to 
its skirts. For I possessed four thousand bay horses in a stable; and I 
married a thousand damsels, of the daughters of Kings, high-bosomed 
virgins, like moons; and I was blessed with a thousand children, like 
stern lions; and I lived a thousand years, happy in mind and heart; and 
I amassed riches such as the Kings of the regions of the earth were un- 
able to procure, and I imagined that my enjoyments would continue 
without failure. But I was not aware when there alighted among us the 
terminator of delights and the separator of companions, the desolator of 
abodes and the ravager of inhabited mansions, the destroyer of the great 
and the small and the infants and the children and the mothers. We 
had resided in this palace in security until the event decreed by the 
Lord of all creatures, the Lord of the heavens and the Lord of the 
earths, befell us, and the thunder of the Manifest Truth assailed us, and 
there died of us every day two, till a great company of us had perished. 
So when I saw that destruction had entered our dwellings, and had 
alighted among us, and drowned us in the sea of deaths, I summoned a 
writer, and ordered him to write these verses and admonitions and 
lessons, and caused them to be engraved upon these doors and tablets 
and tombs. I had an army comprising a thousand thousand bridles, 
composed of hardy men, with spears, and coats of mail, and sharp swords, 
and strong arms; and I ordered them to clothe themselves with the long 
coats of mail, and to hang on the keen swords, and to place in rest the 
terrible lances, and mount the high-blooded horses. Then, when the 
event appointed by the Lord of all creatures, the Lord of the earth and 
the heavens, befell us, I said, O companies of troops and soldiers, can ye 
prevent that which hath befallen me from the Mighty King? But the 
soldiers and troops were unable to do so, and they said, How shall we 
contend against Him from whom none hath secluded, the Lord of the 
door that hath no door-keeper ? So I said. Bring to me the wealth. (And 
it was contained in a thousand pits, in each of which were a thousand 
hundred-weights of red gold, and in them were varieties of pearls and 
jewels, and there was the like quantity of white silver, with treasures 

^ Mirage. 


such as the Kings of the earth were unable to procure.) And they did 
so; and when they had brought the wealth before me, I said to them, 
Can ye deliver me by means of all these riches, and purchase for me 
therewith one day during which I may remain alive? But they could 
not do so. They resigned themselves to fate and destiny, and I sub- 
mitted to God with patient endurance of fate and affliction until He 
took my soul, and made me to dwell in my grave. And if thou ask con- 
cerning my name, I am Kush the son of Sheddad the son of 'Ad the 

And upon the same tablet were also inscribed these verses: — 

Shouldst thou think upon me after the length of my age, and the vicissi- 
tudes of days and circumstances, 
I am the son of Sheddad, who held dominion over mankind and each 

tract of the whole earth. 
All the stubborn troops became abject unto me, and Esh-Sham from 

Misr unto 'Adnan. 
In glory I reigned, abasing their Kings, the people of the earth fearing 

my dominion; 
And I beheld the tribes and armies in my power, and saw the countries 

and their inhabitants dread me. 
When I mounted, I beheld my army comprising a million bridles upon 

neighing steeds; 
And I possessed wealth that could not be calculated, which I treasured 

up against misfortunes. 
Determining to devote the whole of my property for the purpose of 

extending the term of my life. 
But the Deity would nought save the execution of his purpose; and thus 

I became separated from my brethren. 
Death, the disuniter of mankind, came to me, and I was removed from 

grandeur to the mansion of contempt; 
And I found [the recompense of] all my past actions, for which I am 

pledged: for I was sinful! 
Then raise thyself, lest thou be upon a brink; and beware of calamities! 

Mayest thou be led aright! 

And again the Emir Musa wept until he became insensible, in con- 
sidering the fates o£ the people; after which, as they were going 
about through the different apartments of the palace, and viewing 
attentively its chambers and its places of diversion, they came to a 
table upon four legs of alabaster, whereon was inscribed, — 

Upon this table have eaten a thousand one-eyed Kings, and a thousand 
Kings each sound in both eyes. All of them have quitted the world, and 
taken up their abode in the burial-grounds and the graves. 


And the Emir Musa wrote all this. Then he went forth, and took 
not with him from the palace aught save the table. 

The soldiers proceeded, with the sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad before 
them shewing them the way, until all the first day had passed, and 
the second, and the third. They then came to a high hill, at which 
they looked, and, lo, upon it was a horseman of brass, on the top of 
whose spear was a wide and glistening head that almost deprived 
the beholder of sight, and on it was inscribed, O thou who comest 
up to me, if thou know not the way that leadeth to the City of 
Brass, rub the hand of the horseman, and he will turn, and then will 
stop, and in whatsoever direction he stoppeth, thither proceed, with- 
out fear and without difficulty; for it will lead thee to the City of 
Brass. — And when the Emir Musa had rubbed the hand of the 
horseman, it turned like the blinding lightning, and faced a different 
direction from that in which they were travelling. 

The party therefore turned thither and journeyed on, and it was 
the right way. They took that route, and continued their course the 
same day and the next night until they had traversed a wide tract 
of country. And as they were proceeding, one day, they came to a 
pillar of black stone, wherein was a person sunk to his arm-pits, and 
he had two huge wings, and four arms; two of them like those of 
the sons of Adam, and two like the fore-legs of lions, with claws. 
He had hair upon his head like the tails of horses, and two eyes like 
two burning coals, and he had a third eye, in his forehead, like the 
eye of the lynx, from which there appeared sparks of fire. He was 
black and tall; and he was crying out, Extolled be the perfection of 
my Lord, who hath appointed me this severe affliction and painful 
torture until the day of resurrection! When the party beheld him, 
their reason fled from them, and they were stupefied at the sight of 
his form, and retreated in flight; and the Emir Musa said to the 
sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad, What is this? He answered, I know not 
what he is. And the Emir said, Draw near to him and investigate 
his case: perhaps he will discover it, and perhaps thou wilt learn his 
history. The sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad replied, May God amend the 
state of the Emir! Verily we fear him. — Fear ye not, rejoined the 
Emir; for he is withheld from injuring you and others by the state 
in which he is. So the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad drew near to him, and 


said to him, O thou person, what is thy name, and what is thy nature, 
and what hath placed thee here in this manner? And he answered 
him, As to me, I am an 'Efrit of the Jinn, and my name is Dahish 
the son of El-A'mash, and I am restrained here by the majesty, 
confined by the power, [of God,] tormented as long as God (to 
whom be ascribed might and glory!) willeth. Then the Emir Musa 
said, O sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, ask him what is the cause of his 
confinement in this pillar. He therefore asked respecting that, and 
the 'Efrit answered him. Verily my story is wonderful; and it is 

There belonged to one of the sons of Iblis an idol of red carnelian, 
of which I was made guardian; and there used to worship it one 
of the Kings of the sea, of illustrious dignity, of great glory, leading, 
among his troops of the Jann, a million warriors who smote with 
swords before him, and who answered his prayer in cases of diffi- 
culty. These Jann who obeyed him were under my command and 
authority, following my words when I ordered them: all of them 
were in rebellion against Suleyman the son of Da'ud (on both of 
whom be peace!); and I used to enter the body of the idol, and 
command them and forbid them. Now the daughter of that King 
was a frequent adorer of the idol, assiduous in the worship of it, and 
she was the handsomest of the people of her age, endowed with 
beauty and loveHness, and elegance and perfection; and I described 
her to Suleyman, on whom be peace! 

So he sent to her father, saying to him, Marry to me thy daughter 
and break thy carnelian-idol, and bear witness that there is no deity 
but God, and that Suleyman is the Prophet of God. If thou do so, 
thy due shall be the same as our due, and thy debt as our debt. But 
if thou refuse, I bring against thee forces with which thou hast not 
power to contend : therefore prepare an answer to the question,^ and 
put on the garment of death; for I will come to thee with forces 
that shall fill the vacant region, and leave thee like yesterday that 
hath passed. — And when the messenger of Suleyman (on whom be 
peace!) came to him, he was insolent and contumacious, and mag- 
nified himself and was proud. Then he said to his wezirs, What say 
ye respecting the affair of Suleyman the son of Da'ud? For he 

^ On the day of judgment. 


hath sent demanding my daughter, and commanding me to break 
my carneUan-idol, and to adopt his faith.— And they replied, O 
great King, can Suleyman do unto thee that, when thou art in the 
midst of this vast sea? If he come unto thee, he cannot prevail 
against thee; since the Marids of the Jinn will fight on thy side; 
and thou shalt seek aid against him of thine idol that thou wor- 
shippest; for he will aid thee against him and will defend thee. The 
right opinion is, that thou consult thy lord (and they meant by him 
the red carnelian-idol), and hear what will be his reply: if he coun- 
sel thee to fight him, fight him; but otherwise, do not. — And upon 
this the King went immediately, and, going in to his idol, after he 
had offered a sacrifice and slain victims, fell down before it pros- 
trate, and began to weep, and to recite these verses: — 

O my lord, verily I know thy dignity; and, behold, Suleyman desireth to 

break thee. 
O my lord, verily I seek thy defence: command then; for I am obedient 

to thy command. 

(Then that 'Efrit, the half of whom was in the pillar, said to the 
sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad, while those around him listened,) And 
thereupon I entered the body of the idol, by reason of my ignorance, 
and the paucity of my sense, and my solicitude respecting the affair 
of Suleyman, and recited this couplet: — 

As for me, I am not in fear of him; for I am acquainted with everything. 
If he wish to wage war with me, I will go forth, and I will snatch his 
soul from him. 

So when the King heard my reply to him, his heart was strength- 
ened, and he determined to wage war with Suleyman the Prophet of 
God (on whom be peace!) and to fight against him. Accordingly, 
when the messenger of Suleyman came, he inflicted upon him a 
painful beating, and returned him a shameful reply; and he sent to 
threaten Suleyman, saying to him, by the messenger, Thy mind hath 
suggested to thee desires. Dost thou threaten me with false words.? 
Either come thou to me, or I will go to thee. 

Then the messenger returned to Suleyman, and acquainted him 
with all that had occurred and happened to him. And when the 
Prophet of God, Suleyman, heard that, [it was as though] his 


resurrection took place f his resolution was roused, and he prepared 
his forces, consisting of Jinn and men, and wild beasts, and birds 
and reptiles. He commanded his Wezir Ed-Dimiryat, the King of 
the Jinn, to collect the Marids of the Jinn from every place: so he 
collected for him, of the Devils, six hundred millions. He also 
commanded Asaf the son of Barkhiya [his Wezir of men] to col- 
lect his soldiers of mankind; and their number was one million or 
more. He made ready the accoutrements and weapons, and mounted, 
with his forces of the Jinn and of mankind, upon the carpet, with 
the birds flying over his head, and the wild beasts beneath the carpet 
marching, until he alighted upon his enemy's coast, and surrounded 
his island, having filled the land with the forces. He then sent to our 
King, saying to him. Behold, I have arrived: therefore repel from 
thee that which hath come down, or else submit thyself to my 
authority, and acknowledge my mission, and break thine idol, and 
worship the One, the Adored God, and marry to me thy daughter 
according to law, and say thou, and those who are with thee, I 
testify that there is no deity but God, and I testify that Suleyman is 
the Prophet of God. If thou say that, peace and safety shall be thy 
lot. But if thou refuse, thy defending thyself from me in this island 
shall not prevent thee: for God (whose name be blessed and exalted!) 
hath commanded the wind to obey me, and I will order it to convey 
me unto thee on the carpet, and will make thee an example to re- 
strain others. — So the messenger came to him, and communicated to 
him the message of the Prophet of God, Suleyman, on whom be 
peace! But the King said to him, There is no way for the accom- 
plishment of this thing that he requireth of me : therefore inform him 
that I am coming forth unto him. Accordingly the messenger re- 
turned to Suleyman, and gave him the reply. The King then sent 
to the people of his country, and collected for himself, of the Jinn 
that were under his authority, a million; and to these he added 
others, of the Marids and Devils that were in the islands of the seas 
and on the tops of the mountains; after which he made ready his 
forces, and opened the armouries, and distributed to them the 
weapons. And as the Prophet of God, Suleyman (on whom be 
peace!), he disposed his troops, commanding the wild beasts to form 

''/. e., his passion rose. 


themselves into two divisions, on the right o£ the people and on their 
left, and commanding the birds to be upon the islands. He ordered 
them also, when the assault should be made, to tear out the eyes 
of their antagonists with their beaks, and to beat their faces with 
their wings; and he ordered the wild beasts to tear in pieces their 
horses; and they replied. We hear and obey God and thee, O 
Prophet of God! Then Suleyman, the Prophet of God, set for 
himself a couch of alabaster adorned with jewels, and plated with 
plates of red gold, and he placed his Wezir Asaf the son of Bark- 
hiya on the right side, and his Wezir Ed-Dimiryat on the left side, 
and the Kings of mankind on his right, and the Kings of the Jinn 
on his left, and the wild beasts and the vipers and serpents before 

After this, they came upon us all together, and we contended with 
him in a wide tract for a period of two days; and calamity befell us 
on the third day, and the decree of God (whose name be exalted!) 
was executed among us. The first who charged upon Suleyman were 
I and my troops; and I said to my companions. Keep in your places 
in the battlefield while I go forth to them and challenge Ed-Dimir- 
yat. And, lo, he came forth, like a great mountain, his fires flaming, 
and his smoke ascending; and he approached, and smote me with a 
flaming fire; and his arrow prevailed over my fire. He cried out 
at me with a prodigious cry, so that I imagined the heaven had 
fallen and closed over me, and the mountains shook at his voice. 
Then he commanded his companions, and they charged upon us 
all together: we also charged upon them, and we cried out, one to 
another: the fires rose and the smoke ascended, the hearts of the 
combatants were almost cleft asunder, and the battle raged. The 
birds fought in the air; and the wild beasts in the dust; and I con- 
tended with Ed-Dimiryat until he wearied me and I wearied him; 
after which I became weak, and my companions and troops were 
enervated, and my tribes were routed. The Prophet of God, Suley- 
man, cried out, Take ye this great tyrant, the ill-omened, the in- 
famous! And the men charged upon the men, and the Jinn upon 
the Jinn; defeat befell our King, and we became unto Suleyman a 
spoil. His troops charged upon our forces, with the wild beasts on 
their right and left, and the birds were over our heads, tearing out 


the eyes of the people, sometimes with their talons and sometimes 
with their beaks, and sometimes they beat with their wings upon the 
faces of the combatants, while the wild beasts bit the horses and 
tore in pieces the men, until the greater portion of the party lay 
upon the face of the earth Hke the trunks of palm-trees. As to me, 
I flew from before Ed-Dimiryat; but he followed me a journey of 
three months, until he overtook me. I had fallen down through 
fatigue, and he rushed upon me, and made me a prisoner. So I said 
to him. By Him who hath exalted thee and abased me, pity me, and 
take me before Suleyman, on whom be peace! But when I came 
before Suleyman, he met me in a most evil manner: he caused this 
pillar to be brought, and hollowed it, and put me in it, and sealed 
me with his signet; after which, he chained me, and Ed-Dimiryat 
conveyed me to this place, where he set me down as thou seest me; 
and this pillar is my prison until the day of resurrection. He charged 
a great king to guard me in this prison, and I am in this condition 
tortured as thou seest me. 

The party therefore wondered at him, and at the horrible nature 
of his form; and the Emir Musa said, There is no deity but God! 
Suleyman was endowed with a mighty dominion! — And the sheykh 
*Abd-Es-Samad said to the 'Efrit, O thou, I ask thee concerning a 
thing of which do thou inform us. The *Efrit replied. Ask con- 
cerning what thou wilt. And the sheykh said, Are there in this 
place any of the *Efrits confined in bottles of brass from the time of 
Suleyman, on whom be peace? He answered. Yes, in the Sea of 
El-Karkar, where are a people of the descendants of Nuh (on whom 
be peace!), whose country the deluge reached not, and they are 
separated there from [the rest of] the sons of Adam. — And where, 
said the sheykh, is the way to the City of Brass, and the place wherein 
are the bottles? What distance is there between us and it? — The 
*Efrit answered. It is near. So the party left him, and proceeded; 
and there appeared to them a great black object, with two [seeming] 
fires corresponding with each other in position, in the distance, in 
that black object; whereupon the Emir Musa said to the sheykh, 
What is this great black object, and what are these two correspond- 
ing fires? The guide answered him, Be rejoiced, O Emir; for this 
is the City^ of Brass, and this is the appearance of it that I find 


described in the Book o£ Hidden Treasures; that its wall is of black 
stones, and it hath two towers of brass of El-Andalus/ which the 
beholder seeth resembling two corresponding fires; and thence it is 
named the City of Brass. — They ceased not to proceed until they ar- 
rived at it; and, lo, it was lofty, strongly fortified, rising high into 
the air, impenetrable: the height of its walls was eighty cubits, and 
it had five and twenty gates, none of which would open but by 
means of some artifice; and there was not one gate to it that had 
not, within the city, one like it: such was the beauty of the con- 
struction and architecture of the city. They stopped before it, and 
endeavoured to discover one of its gates; but they could not; and 
the Emir Musa said to the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, O sheykh, I see 
not to this city any gate. The sheykh replied, O Emir, thus do I 
find it described in the Book of Hidden Treasures; that it hath 
five and twenty gates, and that none of its gates may be opened but 
from within the city. — ^And how, said the Emir, can we contrive to 
enter it, and divert ourselves with a view of its wonders? 

Then the Emir Musa ordered one of his young men to mount a 
camel, and ride round the city, in the hope that he might discover 
a trace of a gate, or a place lower than that to which they were 
opposite. So one of his young men mounted, and proceeded around 
it for two days with their nights, prosecuting his journey with 
diligence, and not resting; and when the third day arrived, he came 
in sight of his companions, and he was astounded at that which he 
beheld of the extent of the city, and its height. Then he said, O 
Emir, the easiest place in it is this place at which ye have alighted. 
And thereupon the Emir Musa took Talib the son of Sahl, and the 
sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, and they ascended a mountain opposite the 
city, and overlooking it; and when they had ascended that mountain, 
they saw a city than which eyes had not beheld any greater. Its 
pavilions were lofty, and its domes were shining; its mansions were 
in good condition, and its rivers were running; its trees were fruit- 
ful, and its gardens bore ripe produce. It was a city with impene- 
trable gates, empty, still, without a voice or a cheering inhabitant, 
but the owl hooting in its quarters, and birds skimming in circles in 
its areas, and the raven croaking in its districts and its great 

* Spain; not merely Andalusia. 


thoroughfare-streets, and bewaiUng those who had been in it. The 
Emir Musa paused, sorrowing for its being devoid of inhabitants, 
and its being despoiled of people and dwellers; and he said, Extolled 
be the perfection of Him whom ages and times change not, the 
Creator of the creation by his power! And while he was extolling 
the perfection of God (to whom be ascribed might and glory!), he 
happened to look aside, and, lo, there were seven tablets of white 
marble, appearing from a distance. So he approached them, and, 
behold, they were sculptured and inscribed; and he ordered that their 
writing should be read; therefore the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad ad- 
vanced and examined them and read them; and they contained 
admonition, and matter for example and restraint, unto those en- 
dowed with faculties of discernment. Upon the first tablet was 
inscribed, in the ancient Greek character, — 

O son of Adam, how heedless art thou of the case of him who hath 
been before thee! Thy years and age have diverted thee from consider- 
ing him. Knowest thou not that the cup of death will be filled for thee, 
and that in a short time thou wilt drink it? Look then to thyself before 
entering thy grave. Where are those who possessed the countries and 
abased the servants of God and led armies? Death hath come upon 
them; and God is the terminator of delights and the separator of com- 
panions and the devastator of flourishing dwellings; so He hath trans- 
ported them from the amplitude of palaces to the straitness of the graves. 

And in the lower part of the tablet were inscribed these verses: — 

Where are the Kings and the peoplers of the earth? They have quitted 

that which th-^y have built and peopled; 
And in the grave txi^y are pledged for their past actions: there, after 

destruction, they have become putrid corpses. 
Where are the troops? They repelled not, nor profited. And where is 

that which they collected and hoarded? 
The decree of the Lord of the Throne surprised them. Neither riches 

nor refuge saved them from it. 

And the Emir Musa fainted; his tears ran down upon his cheeks, 
and he said. By Allah, indifferencq to the world is the most ap- 
propriate and the most sure course! Then he caused an inkhorn 
and a paper to be brought, and he wrote the inscription of the first 
tablet; after which he drew near to the second tablet, and the third, 
and the fourth; and, having copied what was inscribed on them, he 


descended from the mountain; and the world had been pictured 
before his eyes. 

And when he came back to the troops, they passed the day devising 
means of entering the city; and the Emir Musa said to his Wezir, 
TaUb the son of Sahl, and to those of his chief officers, who were 
around him, How shall we contrive to enter the city, that we may 
see its wonders ? Perhaps we shall find in it something by which we 
may ingratiate ourselves with the Prince of the Faithful. — Talib the 
son of Sahl replied, May God continue the prosperity of the Emir! 
Let us make a ladder, and mount upon it, and perhaps we shall 
gain access to the gate from within. — And the Emir said. This is 
what occurred to my mind, and excellent is the advice. Then he 
called to the carpenters and blacksmiths, and ordered them to make 
straight some pieces of wood, and to construct a ladder covered with 
plates of iron. And they did so, and made it strong. They employed 
themselves in constructing it a whole month, and many men were 
occupied in making it. And they set it up and fixed it against the 
wall, and it proved to be equal to the wall in height, as though it 
had been made for it before that day. So the Emir Musa wondered 
at it, and said, God bless you! It seemeth, from the excellence of 
your work, as though ye had adapted it by measurement to the 
wall. — He then said to the people. Which of you will ascend this 
ladder, and mount upon the wall, and walk along it, and contrive 
means of descending into the city, that he may see how the case is, 
and then inform us of the mode of opening the gate? And one of 
them answered, I will ascend it, O Emir, and descend and open 
the gate. The Emir therefore replied, Mount. God bless thee! — 
Accordingly, the man ascended the ladder until he reached the top 
of it; when he stood, and fixed his eyes towards the city, clapped his 
hands, and cried out with his loudest voice, saying. Thou art beauti- 
ful! Then he cast himself down into the city, and his flesh became 
mashed with his bones. So the Emir Musa said, This is the action 
of the rational. How then will the insane act ? If we do thus with 
all our companions, there will not remain of them one; and we shall 
be unable to accomplish our affair, and the affair of the Prince of 
the Faithful. Depart ye; for we have no concern with this city. — 
But one of them said, Perhaps another than this may be more steady 


than he. And a second ascended, and a third, and a fourth, and a 
fifth; and they ceased not to ascend by that ladder to the top of the 
wall, one after another, until twelve men of them had gone, acting 
as acted the first. Therefore the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad said. There 
is none for this affair but myself, and the experienced is not like the 
inexperienced. But the Emir Musa said to him, Thou shalt not do 
that, nor will I allow thee to ascend to the top of this wall; for 
shouldst thou die, thou wouldst be the cause of the death of us all, 
and there would not remain of us one; since thou art the guide 
of the party. The sheykh however replied, Perhaps the object will 
be accompHshed by my means, through the will of God (whose 
name be exalted!) And thereupon all the people agreed to his 

Then the sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad arose, and encouraged himself, 
and, having said. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merci- 
ful! — he ascended the ladder, repeating the praises of God (whose 
name be exalted!), and reciting the Verses of Safety, until he reached 
the top of the wall; when he clapped his hands, and fixed his eyes. 
The people therefore all called out to him, and said, O sheykh 'Abd- 
Es-Samad, do it not, and cast not thyself down! And they said. 
Verily to God we belong, and verily unto Him we return! If the 
sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad fall, we all perish! — Then the sheykh 'Abd- 
Es-Samad laughed immoderately, and sat a long time repeating the 
praises of God (whose name be exalted!), and reciting the Verses 
of Safety; after which he rose with energy, and called out with his 
loudest voice, O Emir, no harm shall befall you; for God (to whom 
be ascribed might and glory!) hath averted from me the effect of 
the artifice and fraudulence of the Devil, through the blessing re- 
sulting from the utterance of the words. In the name of God, the 
Compassionate, the Merciful. — So the Emir said to him. What hast 
thou seen, O sheykh ? He answered. When I reached the top of the 
wall, I beheld ten damsels, like moons, who made a sign with their 
hands, as though they would say. Come to us. And it seemed to me 
that beneath me was a sea (or great river) of water; whereupon I 
desired to cast myself down, as our companions did: but I beheld 
them dead; so I withheld myself from them, and recited some words 
of the book of God (whose name be exalted!), whereupon God 


averted from me the influence of those damsels' artifice, and they 
departed from me; therefore I cast not myself down, and God re- 
pelled from me the effect of their artifice and enchantment. There 
is no doubt that this is an enchantment and an artifice which the 
people of this city contrived in order to repel from it every one who 
should desire to look down upon it, and wish to obtain access to it; 
and these our companions are laid dead. 

He then walked along the wall till he came to the two towers of 
brass, when he saw that they had two gates of gold, without locks 
upon them, or any sign of the means of opening them. Therefore 
the sheykh paused as long as God willed, and, looking attentively, 
he saw in the middle of one of the gates a figure of a horseman of 
brass, having one hand extended, as though he were pointing with 
it, and on it was an inscription, which the sheykh read, and, lo, it 
contained these words: — Turn the pin that is in the middle of the 
front of the horseman's body twelve times, and then the gate will 
open. So he examined the horseman, and in the middle of the front 
of his body was a pin, strong, firm, well fixed; and he turned it 
twelve times; whereupon the gate opened immediately, with a noise 
like thunder; and the sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad entered. He was a 
learned man, acquainted with all languages and characters. And he 
walked on until he entered a long passage, whence he descended 
some steps, and he found a place with handsome wooden benches, 
on which were people dead, and over their heads were elegant 
shields, and keen swords, and strung bows, and notched arrows. 
And behind the [next] gate were a bar of iron, and barricades of 
wood, and locks of delicate fabric, and strong apparatus. Upon this, 
the sheykh said within himself. Perhaps the keys are with these 
people. Then he looked, and, lo, there was a sheykh who appeared 
to be the oldest of them, and he was upon a high wooden bench 
among the dead men. So the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad said, May not 
the keys of the city be with this sheykh! Perhaps he was the gate- 
keeper of the city, and these were under his authority. — He there- 
fore drew near to him, and lifted up his garments, and, lo, the keys 
were hung to his waist. At the sight of them, the sheykh *Abd-Es- 
Samad rejoiced exceedingly; his reason almost fled from him in 
consequence of his joy; and he took the keys, approached the gate. 


opened the locks, and pulled the gate and the barricades and other 
apparatus, which opened, and the gate also opened, with a noise 
like thunder, by reason of its greatness and terribleness, and the 
enormousness of its apparatus. Upon this, the sheykh exclaimed, 
God is most great! — and the people made the same exclamation with 
him, rejoicing at the event. The Emir Musa also rejoiced at the 
safety of the sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad, and at the opening of the gate 
of the city; the people thanked the sheykh for that which he had 
done, and all the troops hastened to enter the gate. But the Emir 
Musa cried out to them, O people, if all of us enter, we shall not be 
secure from some accident that may happen. Half shall enter, and 
half shall remain behind. 

The Emir Musa then entered the gate, and with him half of the 
people, who bore their weapons of war. And the party saw their 
companions lying dead: so they buried them. They saw also the 
gate-keepers and servants and chamberlains and lieutenants lying 
upon beds of silk, all of them dead. And they entered the market 
of the city, and beheld a great market, with lofty buildings, none of 
which projected beyond another: the shops were open, and the scales 
hung up, and the utensils of brass ranged in order, and the khans 
were full of all kinds of goods. And they saw the merchants dead 
in their shops: their skins were dried, and their bones were carious, 
and they had become examples of him who would be admonished. 
They saw likewise four markets of particular shops filled with 
wealth. And they left this place, and passed on to the silk-market, 
in which were silks and brocades interwoven with red gold and 
white silver upon various colours, and the owners were dead, lying 
upon skins, and appearing almost as though they would speak. 
Leaving these, they went on to the market of jewels and pearls and 
jacinths; and they left it, and passed on to the market of the money- 
changers, whom they found dead, with varieties of silks beneath 
them, and their shops were filled with gold and silver. These they 
left, and they proceeded to the market of the perfumers; and, lo, 
their shops were filled with varieties of perfumes, and bags of musk, 
and ambergris, and aloes-wood, and nedd, and camphor, and other 
things; and the owners were all dead, not having with them any 
food. And when they went forth from the market of the perfumers, 


they found near unto it a palace, decorated, and strongly constructed; 
and they entered it, and found banners unfurled, and drawn swords, 
and strung bows, and shields hung up by chains of gold and silver, 
and helmets gilded with red gold. And in the passages of that 
palace were benches of ivory, ornamented with plates of brilliant 
gold, and with silk, on which were men whose skins had dried upon 
the bones: the ignorant would imagine them to be sleeping; but, 
from the want of food, they had died, and tasted mortality. Upon 
this, the Emir Musa paused, extoUing the perfection of God (whose 
name be exalted!), and his holiness, and contemplating the beauty 
of that palace, and its strong construction, and its wonderful fabri- 
cation in the most beautiful form and with the firmest architecture; 
and most of its decoration was in ultramarine. Around it were 
inscribed these verses : — 

Consider what thou beholdest, O man; and be on thy guard before thou 

And prepare good provision, that thou mayest enjoy it; for every dweller 
in a house shall depart. 

Consider a people who decorated their abodes, and in the dust have be- 
come pledged for their actions. 

They built; but their buildings availed not: and treasured; but their 
wealth did not save them when the term had expired. 

How often they hoped for what was not decreed them! But they passed 
to the graves, and hope did not profit them; 

And from their high and glorious state they were removed to the 
narrowness of the sepulchre. Evil is their abode! 

Then there came to them a crier, after they were buried, saying, Where 
are the thrones and the crowns and the apparel? 

Where are the faces which were veiled and curtained, and on which, for 
their beauty, proverbs were composed? — 

And the grave plainly answered the inquirer for them, As to the cheeks, 
the rose is gone from them. 

Long time they ate and drank; but now, after pleasant eating, they them- 
selves have been eaten. 

And the Emir Musa wept until he became senseless; and after- 
wards, having given orders to write these verses, he went on into the 
interior of the palace. There he beheld a great hall, and four large 
and lofty chambers, each one fronting another, wide, decorated with 
gold and silver and with various colours. In the midst of the hall 


was a great fountain of alabaster, over which was a canopy of 
brocade; and in those chambers were places [one in each chamber] 
containing decorated fountains, and tanks Uned with marble; and 
channels of water flowed along the floors of those chambers, the 
four streams meeting together in a great tank lined with marbles 
of various colours.— The Emir Musa then said to the sheykh 'Abd- 
Es-Samad, Enter these chambers with us. So they entered the first 
chamber; and they found it filled with gold and with white silver, 
and pearls and jewels, and jacinths and precious minerals. They 
found in it also chests full of red and yellow and white brocades. 
And they went thence to the second chamber, and opened a closet 
in it, and, lo, it was filled with arms and weapons of war, consisting 
of gilded helmets, and Davidean coats of mail, and Indian swords, 
and lances of Khatt Hejer, and maces of Khuwarezm, and other 
instruments of war and battle. Then they passed thence to the third 
chamber, in which they found closets having upon their doors 
closed locks, and over them were curtains worked with various 
kinds of embroidery. They opened one of these closets, and found 
it filled with weapons decorated with varieties of gold and silver 
and jewels. And they went thence to the fourth chamber, where 
also they found closets, one of which they opened, and they found 
it full of utensils for food and drink, consisting of various vessels 
of gold and silver, and saucers of crystal, and cups set with brilliant 
pearls, and cups of carnelian, and other things. So they began to 
take what suited them of those things, ancj each of the soldiers 
carried off what he could. And when they determined to go forth 
from those chambers, they saw there a door of saj inlaid with ivory 
and ebony, and adorned with plates of brilliant gold, in the midst 
of that palace. Over it was hung a curtain of silk worked with 
various kinds of embroidery, and upon it were locks of white silver, 
to be opened by artifice, without a key. The sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad 
therefore advanced to those locks, and he opened them by his 
knowledge and boldness and excellent skill. And the party entered 
a passage paved with marble, upon the sides of which were curtains 
whereon were figured various wild beasts and birds, all these being 
worked with red gold and white silver, and their eyes were of 
pearls and jacinths: whosoever beheld them was confounded. Next 


they came to a saloon, on beholding which the Emir Musa and the 
sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad were amazed at its construction. 

They then passed on, and found a saloon constructed of polished 
marble adorned with jewels. The beholder imagined that upon its 
floor was running water, and if any one walked upon it he would 
slip. The Emir Musa therefore ordered the sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad 
to throw upon it something that they might be enabled to walk on 
it; and he did this, and contrived so that they passed on. And they 
found in it a great dome constructed of stones gilded with red gold. 
The party had not beheld, in all that they had seen, any thing more 
beautiful than it. And in the midst of that dome was a great dome- 
crowned structure of alabaster, around which were lattice-windows, 
decorated, and adorned with oblong emeralds, such as none of the 
Kings could procure. In it was a pavilion of brocade, raised upon 
columns of red gold, and within this were birds, the feet of which 
were of emeralds; beneath each bird was a net of brilliant pearls, 
spread over a fountain; and by the brink of the fountain was placed 
a couch adorned with pearls and jewels and jacinths, whereon was 
a damsel resembling the shining sun. Eyes had not beheld one more 
beautiful. Upon her was a garment of brilliant pearls, on her head 
was a crown of red gold, with a fillet of jewels, on her neck was a 
necklace of jewels in the middle of which were refulgent gems, and 
upon her forehead were two jewels the light of which was like that 
of the sun; and she seemed as though she were looking at the people, 
and observing them to the right and left. When the Emir Musa 
beheld this damsel, he wondered extremely at her loveliness, and 
was confounded by her beauty and the redness of her cheeks and 
the blackness of her hair. Any beholder would imagine that she was 
alive, and not dead. And they said to her. Peace be on thee, O 
damsel! But Talib the son of Sahl said ta the Emir, May God 
amend thy state. Know that this damsel is dead. There is no life 
in her. How then can she return the salutation? — And he added, 
O Emir, she is skilfully embalmed; and her eyes have been taken 
out after her death, and quicksilver hath been put beneath them, 
after which they have been restored to their places; so they gleam; 
and whenever the air putteth them in motion, the beholder imagineth 
that she twinkleth her eyes, though she is dead. — Upon this the 


Emir Musa said, Extolled be the perfection of God, who hath sub- 
dued his servants by death! — And as to the couch upon which was 
the damsel, it had steps, and upon the steps were two slaves, one of 
them white and the other black; and in the hand of one of them 
was a weapon of steel, and in the hand of the other a jewelled sword 
that blinded the eyes; and before the two slaves was a tablet of 
gold, whereon was read an inscription, which was this: — 

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to 
God, the Creator of man; and He is the Lord of lords, and the Cause of 
causes. In the name of God, the Everlasting, the Eternal: in the name 
of God, the Ordainer of fate and destiny. O son of Adam, how ignorant 
art thou in the long indulgence of hope! and how unmindful art thou 
of the arrival of the predestined period! Knowest thou not that death 
hath called for thee, and hath advanced to seize thy soul? Be ready 
then for departure, and make provision in the world; for thou wilt quit 
it soon. Where is Adam, the father of mankind? Where are Nuh and 
his offspring? Where are the sovereign Kisras and Caesars? Where are 
the Kings of India and El-'Irak? Where are the Kings of the regions of 
the earth? Where are the Amalekites? Where are the mighty monarchs? 
The mansions are void of their presence, and they have quitted their 
families and homes. Where are the Kings of the foreigners and the 
Arabs? They have all died, and become rotten bones. Where are the 
lords of high degree? They have all died. Where are Karun and 
Haman?^ Where is Sheddad the son of Ad? Where are Ken'an and 
the Lord of the Stakes?^'' God hath cut them off, and it is He who 
cutteth short the lives of mankind, and He hath made the mansions to 
be void of their presence. Did they prepare provision for the day of 
resurrection, and make themselves ready to reply to the Lord of men? — 
O thou, if thou know me not, I will acquaint thee with my name and my 
descent. I am Tedmur, the daughter of the King of the Amalekites, of 
those who ruled the countries with equity. I possessed what none of the 
Kings possessed, and ruled with justice, and acted impartially towards 
my subjects: I gave and bestowed, and I lived a long time in the enjoy- 
ment of happiness and an easy life, and possessing emancipated female 
and male slaves. Thus I did until the summoner of death came to my 
abode, and disasters occurred before me. And the case was this: — Seven 
years in succession came upon us, during which no water descended on 
us from heaven, nor did any grass grow for us on the face of the earth. 
So we ate what food we had in our dwellings, and after that we fell 
upon the beasts and ate them, and there remained nothing. Upon this, 

^ Korah; Haman the chief minister of the Pharaoh of the oppression. See Kur'an, 
xxviii. ^^ Canaan and the Pharaoh of the oppression. 


therefore, I caused the wealth to be brought, and meted it with a measure, 
and sent it by trusty men, who went about with it through all the dis- 
tricts, not leaving un visited a single large city, to seek for some food. 
But they found it not; and they returned to us with the wealth, after a 
long absence. So thereupon we exposed to view our riches and our 
treasures, locked the gates of the fortresses in our city, and submitted 
ourselves to the decree of our Lord, committing our case to our Master; 
and thus we all died, as thou beholdest, and left what we had built and 
what we had treasured. This is the story: and after the substance there 
remaineth not aught save the vestige. 

And they looked at the lower part of the tablet, and saw inscribed 
upon it these verses: — 

Child of Adam, let not hope make game of thee. From all that thy 

hands have treasured thou shalt be removed. 
I see thee desirous of the world and its embellishments; and the past 

generations have pursued the same course. 
They acquired wealth, both lawful and forbidden; but it repelled not 

fate when the term expired: 
They led troops in multitudes, and collected riches; and they left their 

wealth and buildings, and departed 
To the narrow graves, and lay down in the dust; and there they have 

remained, pledged for their actions; 
As if the company of travellers had put down their baggage during night 

in a house where was no food for guests. 
And its owner had said to them, O people, there is not any lodging for 

you in it. So they packed after alighting: 
And they all thereupon became fearful and timid: neither halting nor 

journeying was pleasant unto them. 
Then prepare good provision that will rejoice thee to-morrow; and act 

not save agreeably with the fear of thy Lord. 

And upon the tablet were also inscribed these words: — 

Whoso arriveth at our city, and entereth it, God facilitating his en- 
trance into it, let him take of the wealth what he can, but not touch any 
thing that is on my body; for it is the covering of my person, and the 
attire with which I am fitted forth from the world. Therefore let him 
fear God, and not seize aught of it; for he would destroy himself. I have 
caused this to be an admonition from me unto him, and a charge which 
I give him in confidence. And peace be on you! I beg God, moreover, 
to save you from the evil of trials and sickness. 

The Emir Musa, when he heard these words, again wept so 
violently that he became insensible; and after he had recovered, he 


wrote all that he saw, and was admonished by what he witnessed. 
He then said to his companions, Bring the sacks, and fill them with 
part of these riches and these vessels and rarities and jewels. And 
thereupon, Talib the son of Sahl said to the Emir Musa, O Emir, 
shall we leave this damsel with the things that are upon her ? They 
are things that have no equal, nor is the like of them at any time 
found, and they are more than the riches thou hast taken, and will 
be the best present by which thou mayest ingratiate thyself with 
the Prince of the Faithful. — But the Emir replied, O thou, heardest 
thou not that which the damsel hath given as a charge, in the in- 
scription upon this tablet ? Moreover, and especially, she hath given 
it as a charge offered in confidence, and we are not of the people 
of treachery. — The Wezir Talib, however, said. And on account 
of these words wilt thou leave these riches and these jewels, when 
she is dead? What then should she do with these things, which are 
the ornaments of the world, and the decoration of the living? 
With a garment of cotton might this damsel be covered, and we are 
more worthy of the things than she. — Then he drew near to the 
steps, and ascended them until he reached the spot between the two 
men [the slaves before mentioned], when, lo, one of these two 
smote him upon his back, and the other smote him with the sword 
that was in his hand, and struck off his head, and he fell down 
dead. So the Emir Musa said. May God not regard with mercy thy 
resting-place! There was, in these riches, a sufficiency; and covetous- 
ness doth doubtlessly dishonour the person in whom it existeth! — He 
thereupon gave orders for the entry of the troops, who accordingly 
entered, and they loaded the camels with part of those riches and 
minerals; after which the Emir Musa commanded them to close the 
gate as it was before. 

They then proceeded along the sea-coast until they came in sight 
of a high mountain overlooking the sea. In it were many caves, and, 
lo, in these was a people of the blacks, clad in hides, and with 
burnuses of hides upon their heads, whose language was not known. 
And when they saw the troops, they ran from them, and fled to those 
caves, while their women and their children stood at the entrances 
of the caves. So the Emir Musa said, O sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad, 
what are these people? And he answered. These are the objects of 


the inquiry of the Prince of the Faithful. They therefore alighted, 
and the tents were pitched, and the riches were put down; and they 
had not rested when the King of the blacks came down from the 
mountain, and drew near to the troops. He was acquainted with the 
Arabic language; therefore, when he came to the Emir Musa, he 
saluted him; and the Emir returned his salutation, and treated him 
with honour. Then the King of the blacks said to the Emir, Are 
ye of mankind, or the Jinn? The Emir answered. As to us, we are 
of mankind; and as to you, there is no doubt but that ye are of the 
Jinn, because of your seclusion in this mountain that is separated 
from the world, and because of the greatness of your make. But 
the King of the blacks replied. Nay, we are a people of the race of 
Adam, of the sons of Ham the son of Nuh, on whom be peace! And 
as to this sea, it is known by the name of El-Karkar. — So the Emir 
Musa said to him. And whence obtained ye knowledge, when there 
hath not come unto you any prophet divinely inspired in such a 
country as this ? He answered. Know, O Emir, that there appeareth 
unto us, from this sea, a person diffusing a Hght whereby the sur- 
rounding tracts are illuminated; and he proclaimeth, with a voice 
which the distant and the near hear, O sons of Ham, be abashed at 
Him who seeth and is not seen; and say. There is no deity but 
God: Mohammad is the Apostle of God. And I am Abu-1-' Abbas 
El-Khidr. — Before that, we used to worship one another; but he 
called us to the worship of the Lord of mankind. — Then he said to 
the Emir Musa, He hath also taught us some words to say. — And 
what, asked the Emir, are those words? He answered. They are 
these: — ^There is no deity but God alone: He hath no partner: to 
Him belongeth dominion, and to Him belongeth praise : He giveth 
life and killeth: and He is able to accomplish every thing. And we 
seek not access to God (to whom be ascribed might and glory!) save 
by these words, nor know we any others. Also, every night of 
Friday we see a light upon the face of the earth, and we hear a 
voice saying. Perfect! Holy! Lord of the Angels and the Spirit! 
Whatsoever God willeth cometh to pass, and what He willeth not 
cometh not to pass! Every benefit from God is a gratuitous favour! 
And there is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! 
The Emir Musa then said to him, We are the associates of the 


King of El-Islam, 'Abd-El-Melik the son of Mar wan; and we have 
come on account of the bottles of brass that are here in your sea, 
and wherein are the devils imprisoned from the time of Suleyman 
the son of Da'ud (on both of whom be peace!). He hath com- 
manded us to bring him some of them, that he may see them, and 
divert himself by the view of them.— And the King of the blacks 
replied. Most willingly. Then he feasted him with fish, and ordered 
the divers to bring up from the sea some of the bottles of Suleyman; 
and they brought up for them twelve bottles; wherewith the Emir 
Musa was delighted, and the sheykh *Abd-Es-Samad also, and the 
soldiers, on account of the accomplishment of the affair of the Prince 
of the Faithful. The Emir Musa thereupon presented to the King 
of the blacks many presents, and gave him large gifts. In like 
manner too the King of the blacks gave to the Emir Musa a present 
consisting of wonders of the sea, in the form of human beings, and 
said to him. Your entertainment for these three days shall be of 
these fish. And the Emir replied. We must carry with us some of 
them, that the Prince of the Faithful may see them; for thereby will 
his heart be pleased more than by the bottles of Suleyman. 

Then they bade him farewell, and they journeyed back until they 
came to the land of Syria, and went in to the Prince of the Faithful; 
whereupon the Emir Musa acquainted him with all that he had 
seen, and all that had occurred to him with respect to the verses and 
histories and admonitions, and told him of the case of Talib the son 
of Sahl. And the Prince of the Faithful said to him. Would that I 
had been with you, that I might have beheld what ye beheld! He 
then took the bottles, and proceeded to open one after another, and 
the devils came forth from them, saying, Repentance, O Prophet of 
God! We will not return to the like conduct ever! — And *Abd-El- 
Melik the son of Marwan wondered at this. But as to the damsels 
of the sea, with the like of which the King of the blacks feasted 
them, they made for them troughs of wood, which they filled with 
water, and into these they put them. They died, however, in conse- 
quence of the intensity of the heat. After this, the Prince of the 
Faithful caused the riches to be brought before him, and divided 
them among the Muslims. And he said, God hath not bestowed 
upon any one the like of what He bestowed upon Suleyman the son 


o£ Da'ud. Then the Emir Musa begged the Prince o£ the Faithful 
that he might appoint his son in his place as Governor of the 
province, and that he might himself go to the noble Jerusalem, there 
to worship God. So the Prince of the Faithful appointed his son 
to the government, and he himself went to the noble Jerusalem, 
and he died there. 

This is the end of that which hath come down to us, of the history 
of the City of Brass, entire. And God is all-knowing. 

[Nights 738-7^6] 
The Story of Jullanar of the Sea 

THERE was, in olden time, and in an ancient age and period, 
in the land of the Persians, a King named Shah-Zeman, 
and the place o£ his residence was Khurasan. He had a 
hundred concubines; but he had not been blest, during his whole 
life, with a male child by any of them, nor a female; and he re- 
flected upon this, one day, and lamented that the greater portion of 
his life had passed, and he had not been blessed with a male child to 
inherit the kingdom after him as he had inherited it from his fathers 
and forefathers. So the utmost grief, and violent vexation, befell 
him on this account. 

Now while he was sitting one day, one of his memluks came in 
to him, and said to him, O my lord, at the door is a slave-girl with 
a merchant : none more beautiful than she hath been seen. And he re- 
plied. Bring to me the merchant and the slave-girl. The merchant 
and the slave-girl therefore came to him; and when he saw her, he 
found her to resemble the Rudeyni^ lance. She was wrapped in an 
izar of silk embroidered with gold, and the merchant uncovered her 
face, whereupon the place was illuminated by her beauty, and there 
hung down from her forehead seven locks of hair reaching to her 
anklets, like the tails of horses. She had eyes bordered with kohl, 
and heavy hips, and slender waist: she was such as would cure 
the malady of the sick, and extinguish the fire of the thirsty, and 
was as the poet hath said in these verses: — 

I am enamoured of her: she is perfect in beauty, and perfect also in 

gravity and in dignity. 
She is neither tall nor short; but her hips are such that the izar is too 

narrow for them. 
Her stature is a mean between the small and the large: so there is neither 

tallness nor shortness to find fault with. 

^ Rudeyneh and her husband Semher, of Khatt Hejer, were famous for making 
straight spear-shafts. 



Her hair reacheth to her anklets, [and is black as night,] but her face 
is ever like the day. 

The King, therefore wondered at the sight of her, and at her beauty 
and loveliness, and her stature and justness of form; and he said 
to the merchant, O sheykh, for how much is this damsel to be sold ? 
The merchant answered, O my lord, I purchased her for two thou- 
sand pieces of gold of the merchant who owned her before me, and 
I have been for three years travelling with her, and she hath cost, to 
the period of her arrival at this place, three thousand pieces of gold; 
and she is a present from me unto thee. Upon this, the King con- 
ferred upon him a magnificent robe of honour, and gave orders to 
present him with ten thousand pieces of gold. So he took them, and 
kissed the hands of the King, thanking him for his bounty and 
beneficence, and departed. Then the King committed the damsel to 
the tirewomen, saying to them, Amend the state of this damsel, and 
deck her, and furnish for her a private chamber, and take her into 
it. He also gave orders to his chamberlains that every thing which 
she required should be conveyed to her. The seat of government 
where he resided was on the shore of the sea, and his city was called 
the White City. And they conducted the damsel into a private 
chamber, which chamber had windows overlooking the sea; and 
the King commanded his chamberlains to close all the doors upon 
her after taking to her all that she required. 

The King then went in to visit the damsel; but she rose not to 
him, nor took any notice of him. So the King said. It seemeth that 
she hath been with people who have not taught her good manners. 
And looking at the damsel, he saw her to be a person surpassing in 
beauty and loveliness, and in stature and justness of form; her face 
was like the disk of the moon at the full, or the shining sun in the 
clear sky; and he wondered at her beauty and loveliness, and stature 
and justness of form, extolling the perfection of God, the Creator: 
lauded be his power! Then the King advanced to the damsel, and 
seated himself by her side, pressed her to his bosom, and seated her 
upon his thigh; and he kissed her lips, which he found to be sweeter 
than honey. After this, he gave orders to bring tables of the richest 
viands, comprising dishes of every kind; and the King ate, and put 


morsels into her mouth until she was satisfied, but she spoke not a 
single word. The King talked to her, and inquired of her her name; 
but she was silent, not uttering a word, nor returning him an answer, 
ceasing not to hang down her head towards the ground; and what 
protected her from the anger of the King was the excess of her 
beauty and loveliness, and her tenderness of manner. So the King 
said within himself. Extolled be the perfection of God, the Creator 
of this damsel! How elegant is she, saving that she doth not speak! 
But perfection belongeth unto God, whose name be exalted! — Then 
the King asked the female slaves whether she had spoken; and they 
answered him. From the time of her arrival to the present moment 
she hath not spoken one word, and we have not heard her talk. The 
King therefore caused some of the female slaves and concubines to 
come, and ordered them to sing to her, and to make merry with 
her, thinking that then she might perhaps speak. Accordingly the 
female slaves and concubines played before her with all kinds of 
musical instruments, and enacted sports and other performances, and 
they sang so that every one who was present was moved with delight, 
except the damsel, who looked at them and was silent, neither 
laughing nor speaking. So the heart of the King was contracted. 
He however inclined to her entirely, paying no regard to others, but 
relinquishing all the rest of his concubines and favourites. 

He remained with her a whole year, which seemed as one day, 
and still she spoke not; and he said to her one day, when his love of 
her, and his passion, were excessive, O desire of souls, verily the love 
that I have for thee is great, and I have reUnquished for thy sake all 
my female slaves, and the concubines and the women and the 
favourites, and made thee my worldly portion, and been patient with 
thee a whole year. I beg God (whose name be exalted!) that He 
will, in his grace, soften thy heart towards me, and that thou mayest 
speak to me. Or, if thou be dumb, inform me by a sign, that I may 
give up hope of thy speaking. I also beg of God (whose perfection 
be extolled!) that He will bless me by thee with a male child that 
may inherit my kingdom after me; for I am single and solitary, hav- 
ing none to be my heir, and my age hath become great. I conjure 
thee then by Allah, if thou love me, that thou return me a reply. — 
And upon this, the damsel hung down her head towards the ground, 


meditating. Then she raised her head, and smiled in the face of 
the King, whereat it appeared to the King that hghtning filled the 
private chamber; and she said, O magnanimous King, and bold lion, 
God hath answered thy prayer; for I am about to bear thee issue, and 
the time is [almost] come. But I know not whether the child is 
male or female. And were it not for my being in this state, I had 
not spoken to thee one word. — And when the King heard what she 
said, his face brightened up with joy and happiness, and he kissed 
her head and her hands by reason of the violence of his joy, and 
said. Praise be to God who hath favoured me with things that I 
desired; the first, thy speaking; and the second, thy information that 
thou art about to bear me issue. Then the King arose and went 
forth from her, and seated himself upon the throne of his kingdom 
in a state of exceeding happiness; and he ordered the Wezir to give 
out to the poor and the needy and the widows and others a hundred 
thousand pieces of gold as a thank-offering to God (whose name be 
exalted!) and an alms on his part. So the Wezir did as the King 
had commanded him. And after that, the King went in to the 
damsel, and sat with her, and embraced her and pressed her to his 
bosom, saying to her, O my mistress, who ownest me as thy slave, 
wherefore hath been this silence, seeing that thou hast been with me 
a whole year, night and day, awake and asleep, yet hast not spoken 
to me during this year except on this day? What then hath been 
the cause of thy silence ? 

The damsel answered. Hear, O King of the age, and know that 
I am a poor person, a stranger, broken-hearted : I have become sepa- 
rated from my mother and my family and my brother. And when 
the King heard her words, he knew her desire, and he replied. As to 
thy saying that thou art poor, there is no occasion for such an 
assertion; for all my kingdom and my goods and possessions are at 
thy service, and I also have become thy memluk: and as to thy 
saying, I have become separated from my mother and my family and 
my brother — inform me in what place they are, and I will send to 
them, and bring them to thee. So she said to him, Know, O fortu^ 
nate King, that my name is Jullanar of the Sea. My father was one 
of the Kings of the Sea, and he died, and left to us the kingdom; 
but while we were enjoying it, one of the Kings came upon us, and 


took the kingdom from our hands. I have also a brother named 
Sahh, and my mother is of the women of the sea; and I quarrelled 
with my brother, and swore that I would throw myself into the 
hands of a man of the inhabitants of the land. Accordingly I came 
forth from the sea, and sat upon the shore of an island in the moon- 
light, and there passed by me a man who took me and conducted 
me to his abode, and desired to make me his concubine; but I 
smote him upon his head, and he almost died; wherefore he went 
and sold me to this man from whom thou tookest me, and he was 
an excellent, virtuous man, a person of religion and fidelity and 
kindness. But had not thy heart loved me, and hadst thou not pre- 
ferred me above all thy concubines, I had not remained with thee one 
hour; for I should have cast myself into the sea from this window, 
and gone to my mother and my people. I was ashamed, however, 
to go to them in the state in which I am; for they would imagine 
evil of me, and would not believe me, even though I should swear 
to them, were I to tell them that a King had purchased me with his 
money, and had made me his worldly portion, and chosen me in 
preference to his wives and all that his right hand possessed. This 
is my story, and peace be on thee! — And when he heard her words, 
he thanked her, and kissed her between her eyes, and said to her. 
By Allah, O my mistress, and light of my eyes, I cannot endure thy 
separation for one hour; and if thou quit me, I shall die instantly. 
How then shall the affair be? — She answered, O my master, the 
time of the birth is near, and my family must come. — And how, said 
the King, do they walk in the sea without being wetted? She 
answered. We walk in the sea as ye walk upon the land, through 
the influence of the names engraved upon the seal of Suleyman the 
son of Da'ud, upon both of whom be peace! But, O King, when my 
family and my brethren come, I will inform them that thou bought- 
est me with thy money, and hast treated me with kindness and 
beneficence, and it will be meet that thou confirm my assertion to 
them. They will also see thy state with their eyes, and will know 
that thou art a King, the son of a King. — And thereupon the King 
said, O my mistress, do what seemeth fit to thee, and what thou 
wishest; for I will comply with thy desire in all that thou wilt do. 
And the damsel said, Know,- O King of the age, that we walk in 


the sea with our eyes open, and see what is in it, and we see the 
sun and the moon and the stars and the sky as on the face of the 
earth, and this hurteth us not.^ Know also, that in the sea are many 
peoples and various forms of all the kinds that are on the land; and 
know, moreover, that all that is on the land, in comparison with 
what is in the sea, is a very small matter. — ^And the King wondered 
at her words. 

Then the damsel took forth from her shoulders two pieces of 
Kamari aloes-wood, and took a bit of them, and, having lighted a 
fire in a perfuming-vessel, threw into it that bit, and she uttered a 
loud whistle, and proceeded to speak words which no one under- 
stood; whereupon a great smoke arose, while the King looked on. 
After this, she said to the King, O my lord, arise and conceal thyself 
in a closet, that I may shew thee my brother and my mother and my 
family without their seeing thee; for I desire to bring them, and 
thou shalt see in this place, at this time, a wonder, and shalt wonder 
at the various shapes and strange forms that God (whose name be 
exalted!) hath created. So the King arose immediately, and entered 
a closet, and looked to see what she would do. And she proceeded 
to burn perfume and repeat spells until the sea foamed and was 
agitated, and there came forth from it a young man of comely form, 
of beautiful countenance, like the moon at the full, with shining 
forehead, and red cheek, and hair resembling pearls and jewels; he 
was, of all the creation, the most like to his sister, and the tongue of 
the case itself seemed to recite in his praise these verses : — 

The moon becometh perfect once in each month; but the loveliness of 

thy face is perfect every day. 
Its abode is in the heart of one sign at a time; but thine abode is in all 

hearts at once. 

Afterwards, there came forth from the sea a grizzly-haired old 
woman, and with her five damsels, resembling moons, and bearing a 
likeness to the damsel whose name was Jullanar. Then the King 
saw the young man and the old woman and the damsels walk upon 
the surface of the water until they came to the damsel Jullanar; and 

2 These people are perhaps the Ghawwasah, or Divers and Plungers, an inferior 
class of the Jinn. 


when they drew near to the window, and Jullanar beheld them, she 
rose to them and met them with joy and happiness. On their seeing 
her, they knew her, and they went in to her and embraced her, 
weeping violently; and they said to her, O Jullanar, how is it that 
thou leavest us for four years, and we know not the place in which 
thou art? By Allah, the world was contracted unto us, by reason 
of the distress occasioned by thy separation, and we had no delight 
in food nor in drink a single day, weeping night and day on account 
of the excess of our longing to see thee. — Then the damsel began to 
kiss the hand of the young man her brother, and the hand of her 
mother, and so also the hands of the daughters of her uncle, and 
they sat with her a while, asking her respecting her state, and the 
things that had happened to her, and her present condition. 

So she said to them. Know ye, that when I quitted you, and came 
forth from the sea, I sat upon the shore of an island, and a man 
took me, and sold me to a merchant, and the merchant brought me 
to this city, and sold me to its King for ten thousand pieces of gold. 
Then he treated me with attention, and forsook all his concubines 
and his women and his favourites for my sake, and was diverted by 
his regard for me from every thing that he possessed and what was 
in his city. — And when her brother heard her words, he said, Praise 
be to God who hath reunited us with thee! But it is my desire, O 
my sister, that thou wouldst arise and go with us to our country and 
our family. — So when the King heard the words of her brother, his 
reason fled in consequence of his fear lest the damsel should accept 
the proposal of her brother, and he could not prevent her, though he 
was inflamed with love of her; wherefore he became perplexed, in 
violent fear of her separation. But as to the damsel Jullanar, on 
hearing the words of her brother, she said. By Allah, O my brother, 
the man who purchased me is the King of this city, and he is a great 
King, and a man of wisdom, generous, of the utmost liberality. He 
hath treated me with honour, and he is a person of kindness, and 
of great wealth, but hath no male child nor a female. He hath shewn 
favour to me, and acted well to me in every respect; and from the 
day when I came to him to the present time, I have not heard from 
him a bad word to grieve my heart; but he hath not ceased to treat 
me with courtesy, and hath done nothing without consulting me, 


and I am living with him in the best of states, and the most perfect 
of enjoyments. Moreover, if I quitted him, he would perish: for he 
can never endure my separation even for a single hour. I also, if I 
quitted him, should die, by reason of the violence of my love for 
him in consequence of the excess of his kindness to me during the 
period of my residence with him; for if my father were living, my 
condition with him would not be like my condition with this great, 
glorious King. Ye have seen, too, that I am about to bear him issue; 
and praise be to God who hath made me to be a daughter of a King 
of the Sea, and my husband the greatest of the Kings of the Land. 
God (whose name be exalted!) afflicted me not, but compensated me 
well; and as the King hath not a male child nor a female, I beg 
God (whose name be exalted!) to bless me with a male child that 
may inherit of this great King these buildings and palaces and 
possessions of which God hath made him owner. — And when her 
brother and the daughters of her uncle heard her words, their eyes 
became cheerful thereat, and they said to her, O Jullanar, thou 
knowest the place which thou hast in our estimation, and art ac- 
quainted with our affection for thee, and thou art assured that thou 
art the dearest of all persons to us, and art certain that we desire 
for thee comfort, without trouble or toil. Therefore if thou be not 
in a state of comfort, arise and accompany us to our country and our 
family; but if thou be comfortable here, in honour and happiness, 
this is our desire and wish; for we desire not aught save thy com- 
fort in every respect. — And Jullanar replied. By Allah, I am in a 
state of the utmost comfort and enjoyment, in honour and desirable 
happiness. So when the King heard these words from her, he re- 
joiced, and his heart became tranquillized, and he thanked her for 
them; his love for her increased, and penetrated to his heart's core, 
and he knew that she loved him as he loved her, and that she de- 
sired to remain with him to see his child which she was to bear him. 
Then the damsel Jullanar of the Sea gave orders to the female 
slaves to bring forward the tables and the viands of all kinds; and 
Jullanar herself was the person who superintended the preparation 
of the viands in the kitchen. So the female slaves brought to them 
the viands and the sweetmeats and the fruits; and she ate with her 
family. But afterwards they said to her, O Jullanar, thy master is a 


man who is a stranger to us, and we have entered his abode without 
his permission and without his knowledge of us, and thou praisest to 
us his excellence, and hast also brought to us his food, and we have 
eaten, but have not had an interview with him, nor seen him, nor 
hath he seen us, nor come into our presence, nor eaten with us, that 
the bond of bread and salt might be established between us. And 
they all desisted from eating, and were enraged at her, and fire began 
to issue from their mouths as from cressets. So when the King be- 
held this, his reason fled, in consequence of the violence of his fear 
of them. Then JuUanar rose to them, and soothed their hearts; after 
which she walked along until she entered the closet in which was 
the King her master; and she said to him, O my master, didst thou 
see, and didst thou hear my thanks to thee, and my praise of thee 
in the presence of my family; and didst thou hear what they said to 
me, that they desired to take me with them to our family and our 
country? The King answered her, I heard and saw. May God 
recompense thee for us well! By Allah, I knew not the extent of the 
love that thou feelest for me until this blessed hour, and I doubt not 
of thy love for me. — She repHed, O my master, is the recompense of 
beneficence aught but beneficence? Thou hast treated me with 
beneficence, and bestowed upon me great favours, and I see that 
thou lovest me with the utmost love, and thou hast shewn me every 
kindness, and preferred me above all whom thou lovest and desirest. 
How then could my heart be happy to quit thee, and to depart from 
thee; and how could that be when thou bestowest benefits and 
favours upon me ? Now I desire of thy goodness that thou come and 
salute my family, and see them, and that they may see thee, and that 
pleasure and mutual friendship may ensue. But know, O King of 
the age, that my brother and my mother and the daughters of my 
uncle have conceived a great love for thee in consequence of my 
praising thee to them, and they have said. We will not depart from 
thee to our country until we have an interview with the King, and 
salute him. So they desire to behold thee, and to become familiar 
with thee. — ^And the King said to her, I hear and obey; for this is 
what I desire. He then rose from his place, and went to them, and 
saluted them with the best salutation; and they hastened to rise to 
him; they met him in the most polite manner, and he sat with them 


in the pavilion, ate with them at the table, and remained with them 
for a period of thirty days. Then they desired to return to their 
country and abode. So they took leave of the King, and the Queen 
Jullanar of the Sea, and departed from them, after the King had 
treated them with the utmost honour. 

After this, Jullanar fulfilled her period, and she gave birth to a 
boy, resembling the moon at the full, whereat the King experienced 
the utmost happiness, because he had not before been blest with a 
son nor a daughter during his Hfe. They continued the rejoicings, 
and the decorations [of the city], for a period of seven days, in the 
utmost happiness and enjoyment; and on the seventh day, the 
mother of the Queen Jullanar, and her brother, and the daughters 
of her uncle, all came, when they knew that Jullanar had given 
birth to her child. The King met them, rejoicing at their arrival, 
and said to them, I said I would not name my son until ye should 
come, and that ye should name him according to your knowledge. 
And they named him Bedr Basim; all of them agreeing as to this 
name. They then presented the boy to his maternal uncle, SaUh, who 
took him upon his hands, and, rising with him from among them, 
walked about the palace to the right and left; after which, he went 
forth with him from the palace, descended with him to the sea, and 
walked on until he became concealed from the eye of the King. So 
when the King saw that he had taken his son, and disappeared from 
him at the bottom of the sea, he despaired of him, and began to 
weep and wail. But Jullanar, seeing him in this state, said to him, 
O King of the age, fear not nor grieve for thy son; for I love my 
child more than thou, and my child is with my brother; therefore 
care not for the sea, nor fear his being drowned. If my brother 
knew that any injury would betide the little one, he had not done 
what he hath done; and presently he will bring thee thy son safe, 
if it be the will of God, whose name be exalted! — And but a short 
time had elapsed when the sea was agitated and disturbed, and the 
uncle of the little one came forth from it, having with him the 
King's son safe, and he flew from the sea until he came to them, 
with the little one on his arms, silent, and his face resembHng the 
moon in the night of its fulness. Then the uncle of the little one 
looked towards the King, and said to him. Perhaps thou fearedst 


some injury to thy son when I descended into the sea, having him 
with me. So he repHed, Yes, O my master, I feared for him, and I 
did not imagine that he would ever come forth from it safe. And 
SaUh said to him, O King of the Land, we apphed to his eyes a 
coUyrium that we know, and repeated over him the names engraved 
upon the seal of Suleyman the son of Da'ud (on both of whom be 
peace!); for when a child is born among us, we do to him as I 
have told thee. Fear not therefore, on his account, drowning, nor 
suffocation, nor all the seas if he descend unto them. Like as ye walk 
upon the land, we walk in the sea. 

He then took forth from his pocket a case, written upon, and 
sealed; and he broke its seal, and scattered its contents, whereupon 
there fell from it strung jewels, consisting of all kinds of jacinths and 
other gems, together with three hundred oblong emeralds, and three 
hundred oblong large jewels, of the size of the eggs of the ostrich, the 
light of which was more resplendent than the light of the sun and 
the moon. And he said, O King of the age, these jewels and jacinths 
are a present from me unto thee; for we never brought thee a 
present, because we knew not the place of Jullanar's abode, nor were 
acquainted with any trace or tidings of her. So when we saw thee 
to have become united to her, and that we all had become one, we 
brought thee this present; and after every period of a few days, we 
will bring thee the Hke of it, if it be the will of God, whose name be 
exalted! For these jewels and jacinths with us are more plentiful 
than the gravel upon the land, and we know the excellent among 
them, and the bad, and all the ways to them, and the places where 
they are found, and they are easy of access to us. — And when the 
King looked at those jewels and jacinths, his reason was confounded 
and his mind was bewildered, and he said. By Allah, one of these 
jewels is worth my kingdom! Then the King thanked SaUh of the 
Sea for his generosity, and, looking towards the Queen Jullanar, 
he said to her, I am abashed at thy brother; for he hath shewn 
favour to me, and presented me with this magnificent present, which 
the people of the earth would fail to procure. So Jullanar thanked 
her brother for that which he had done; but her brother said, O 
King of the age, thou hadst a prior claim upon us, and to thank thee 
hath been incumbent on us; for thou hast treated my sister with 


beneficence, and we have entered thine abode, and eaten of thy pro- 
vision; and the poet hath said, — 

Had 1 wept before she did, in my passion for So'da, I had healed my soul 

before repentance came. 
But she wept before / did: her tears drew mine; and I said. The merit 

belongs to the precedent. 

Then Salih said. If we stood serving thee, O King of the age, a 
thousand years, regarding nothing else, we could not requite thee, 
and our doing so would be but a small thing in comparison with 
thy desert. — The King therefore thanked him eloquently. And Salih 
remained with the King, he and his mother and the daughters of 
his uncle, forty days; after which he arose and kissed the ground 
before the King, the husband of his sister. So the King said to him, 
What dost thou desire, O Salih? And he answered, O King of the 
age, thou hast conferred favours upon us, and we desire of thy 
goodness that thou wouldst grant us a boon, and give us permission 
to depart; for we have become desirous of seeing again our family 
and our country and our relations and our homes. We will not, how- 
ever, relinquish the service of thee, nor that of my sister nor the 
son of my sister; and by Allah, O King of the age, to quit you is 
not pleasant to my heart; but how can we act, when we have been 
reared in the sea, and the land is not agreeable to us ? — So when the 
King heard his words, he rose upon his feet, and bade farewell to 
Salih of the Sea and his mother and the daughters of his uncle, and 
they wept together on account of the separation. Then they said to 
the King, In a short time we shall be with you, and we will never 
relinquish you, but after every period of a few days we will visit 
you. And after this, they flew towards the sea, and descended into 
it, and disappeared. 

The King treated Jullanar with beneficence, and honoured her 
exceedingly, and the Httle one grew up well; and his maternal uncle, 
with his grandmother and the daughters of his uncle, after every 
period of a few days used to come to the residence of the King, and 
to remain with him a month, and two months, and then return to 
their places. The boy ceased not, with increase of age, to increase in 
beauty and loveliness until his age became fifteen years; and he was 


incomparable in his perfect beauty, and his stature and his justness 
of form. He had learned writing and reading, and history and 
grammar and philology, and archery; and he learned to play with 
the spear; and he also learned horsemanship, and all that the sons 
of the Kings required. There was not one of the children of the 
inhabitants of the city, men and women, that talked not of the 
charms of that young man; for he was of surpassing loveUness and 
perfection; and the King loved him greatly. Then the King sum- 
moned the Wezir and the emirs, and the lords of the empire, and 
the great men of the kingdom, and made them swear by binding 
oaths that they would make Bedr Basim King over them after his 
father; so they swore to him by binding oaths, and rejoiced thereat; 
and the King himself was beneficent to the people, courteous in 
speech, of auspicious aspect, saying nothing but what was for the 
good of the people. And on the following day, the King mounted, 
together with the lords of the empire and all the emirs, and all the 
soldiers walked with him through the city and returned; and when 
they drew near to the palace, the King dismounted to wait upon 
his son, and he and all the emirs and the lords of the empire bore 
the ghashiyeh before him. Each one of the emirs and the lords of 
the empire bore the ghashiyeh a while; and they ceased not to pro- 
ceed until they arrived at the vestibule of the palace: the King's son 
riding. Thereupon he aHghted, and his father embraced him, he and 
the emirs, and they seated him upon the throne of the kingdom, 
while his father stood, as also did the emirs, before him. Then Bedr 
Basim judged the people, displaced the tyrannical and invested the 
just, and continued to give judgment until near midday, when he 
rose from the throne of the kingdom, and went in to his mother 
Jullanar of the Sea, having upon his head the crown, and resembling 
the moon. So when his mother saw him, and the King before him, 
she rose to him and kissed him, and congratulated him on his 
elevation to the dignity of Sultan; and she offered up a prayer in 
favour of him and his father for length of life, and victory over their 
enemies. He then sat with his mother and rested; and when the 
time of afternoon-prayers arrived, he rode with the emirs before him 
until he came to the horse-course, where he played with arms till the 
time of nightfall, together with his father and the lords of his em- 


pire; after which he returned to the palace, with all the people before 
him. Every day he used to ride to the horse-course; and when he 
returned, he sat to judge the people, and administered justice between 
the emir and the poor man. He ceased not to do thus for a whole 
year; and after that, he used to ride to the chase, and to go about 
through the cities and provinces that were under his rule, making 
proclamation of safety and security, and doing as do the Kings; and 
he was incomparable among the people of his age in glory and cour- 
age, and in justice to the people. 

Now it came to pass that the old King, the father of Bedr Basim, 
fell sick one day, whereupon his heart throbbed, and he felt that 
he was about to be removed to the mansion of eternity. Then his 
malady increased so that he was at the point of death. He there- 
fore summoned his son, and charged him to take care of his sub- 
jects and his mother and all the lords of his empire and all the 
dependants. He also made them swear, and covenanted with them, 
that they would obey his son, a second time; and he confided in 
their oaths. And after this, he remained a few days, and was ad- 
mitted to the mercy of God, whose name be exalted! His son Bedr 
Basim, and his wife Jullanar, and the emirs and wezirs and the 
lords of the empire, mourned over him; and they made for him a 
tomb, and buried him in it, and continued the ceremonies of mourn- 
ing for him a whole month. Salih, the brother of Jullanar, and her 
mother, and the daughters of her uncle, also came, and consoled them 
for the loss of the King; and they said, O Jullanar, if the King hath 
died, he hath left this ingenuous youth, and he who hath left such 
as he is hath not died. This is he who hath not an equal, the crush- 
ing lion, and the splendid moon. — Then the lords of the empire, 
and the grandees, went in to the King Bedr Basim, and said to him, 
O King, there is no harm in mourning for the King; but mourning 
becometh not any save women; therefore trouble not thy heart and 
ours by mourning for thy father, for he hath died and left thee, and 
he who hath left such as thou art hath not died. They proceeded 
to address him with soft words, and to console him, and after that 
they conducted him into the bath; and when he came forth from 
the bath, he put on a magnificent suit woven of gold, adorned with 
jewels and jacinths, and he put the royal crown upon his head, seated 


himself upon the throne of his kingdom, and performed the affairs 
of the people, deciding equitably between the strong and the weak, 
and exacting for the poor man his due from the emir; wherefore 
the people loved him exceedingly. Thus he continued to do so for 
the space of a whole year; and after every short period, his family 
of the sea visited him; so his life was pleasant, and his eye was 
cheerful: and he ceased not to live in this state for a length of time. 

The Story of 'Ala-ed-Din and the Wonderful Lamp 

I HAVE heard, O King o£ the Age, that there dwelt in a city of 
China a poor tailor who had a son named 'Ala-ed-Din. Now 
this boy had been a scatter-brained scapegrace from his birth. 
And when he had come to his tenth year his father wished to teach 
him a handicraft; and being too poor to afford to spend money on 
him for learning an art or craft or business, he took him into his 
own shop to learn his trade of tailoring. But 'Ala-ed-Din, being a 
careless boy, and always given to playing with the urchins of the 
street, would not stay in the shop a single day, but used to watch 
till his father went out on business or to meet a customer, and then 
would run off to the gardens along with his fellow-ragamuffins. 
Such was his case. He would neither obey his parents nor learn a 
trade; till his father, for very sorrow and grief over his son's mis- 
doing, fell sick and died. But 'Ala-ed-Din went on in the same way. 
And when his mother perceived that her husband was dead, and 
that her son was an idler of no use whatever, she sold the shop and 
all its contents, and took to spinning cotton to support herself and 
her good-for-nothing son. Meanwhile, 'Ala-ed-Din, freed from the 
control of his father, grew more idle and disreputable, and would 
not stay at home except for meals, while his poor unfortunate 
mother subsisted by the spinning of her hands; and so it was, until 
he had come to his fifteenth year. 

One day, as *Ala-ed-Din was sitting in the street playing with the 
gutter-boys, a Moorish Darwish came along, and stood looking at 
them, and began to scrutinise 'Ala-ed-Din and closely examine his 
appearance, apart from his companions. Now this Darwish was 
from the interior of Barbary, and was a sorcerer who could heap 
mountain upon mountain by his spells, and who knew astrology. 
And when he had narrowly scrutinised 'Ala-ed-Din, he said within 



himself: "Verily this is the youth I need, and in quest of whom I 
left my native land." And he took one of the boys aside and asked 
him concerning 'Ala-ed-Din, whose son he was, and wanted to know 
all about him. After which, he went up to 'Ala-ed-Din, and took 
him aside, and said: "Boy, art thou not the son of such a one, the 
tailor?" And he answered: "Yes, O my master; but as to my father, 
he has long been dead." When the Moorish sorcerer heard this, he 
fell upon 'Ala-ed-Din, and embraced him and kissed him and wept 
till the tears ran down his cheeks. And when 'Ala-ed-Din saw the 
state of the Moor, wonder seized upon him, and he asked him and 
said: "Why dost thou weep, O my master? and how knowest thou 
my father?" And the Moor repHed in a low and broken voice: 
"My boy, how dost thou ask me this question after thou hast told 
me that thy father, my brother is dead? For thy father was my 
brother, and I have journeyed from my country, and I rejoiced 
greatly in the hope of seeing him again, after my long exile, and 
cheering him; and now thou hast told me he is dead. But our blood 
hideth not from me that thou art my brother's son, and I recognised 
thee amongst all the boys, although thy father was not yet married 
when I parted from him. And now, O my son, 'Ala-ed-Din, I have 
missed the obsequies, and been deprived of the delight of meeting 
thy father, my brother, whom I had looked to see again, after my 
long absence, before I die. Separation caused me this grief, and 
created man hath no remedy or subterfuge against the decrees of 
God the most High." And he took *Ala-ed-Din and said to him : "O 
my son, there remaineth no comfort to me but in thee; thou standest 
in thy father's place, since thou art his successor, and 'whoso leaveth 
issue doth not die, O my son." And the sorcerer stretched forth his 
hand and took ten gold pieces, and gave them to 'Ala-ed-Din, saying 
to him : "O my son, where is thy house, and where is thy mother, my 
brother's widow?" So 'Ala-ed-Din shewed him the way to their 
house, and the sorcerer said to him: "O my son, take this money, 
and give it to thy mother, and salute her from me, and tell her that 
thy uncle hath returned from his exile, and, God willing, will visit 
her to-morrow to greet her and to see the house where my brother 
lived and the place where he is buried." So 'Ala-ed-Din kissed the 
hand of the Moor, and went, running in his joy, to his mother's. 


and entered, contrary to his custom, for he was not wont to come 
home save at meal times. And when he was come in he cried out 
in his joy: "O my mother, I bring thee good news of my uncle, who 
hath returned from his exile, and saluteth thee." And she said: "O 
my son, dost thou mock me? Who is this uncle of thine, and how 
hast thou an uncle at all?" And 'Ala-ed-Din answered: "O my 
mother, how canst thou say that I have no uncles or kinsmen hving, 
when this man is my uncle on my father's side, and he hath em- 
braced and kissed me and wept over me, and told me to make this 
known to thee!" And she said: "O my son, I know indeed that 
thou didst have an uncle, but he is dead, and I know not any other 
that thou hast." 

On the morrow the Moorish sorcerer went out to seek 'Ala-ed-Din, 
for his heart could not bear parting from him; and as he wandered 
in the streets of the city, he met him disporting himself as usual 
along with the other vagabonds, and, approaching, he took him by 
the hand and embraced and kissed him, and took from his purse 
ten gold pieces, and said: "Haste thee to thy mother and give her 
these gold pieces, and tell her, *My uncle would fain sup with us; 
so take these pieces and make ready for us a good supper.' But 
first of all, shew me again the way to your home." And 'Ala-ed-Din 
replied: "On the head and eye, O my uncle." And he went before 
him and shewed him the way home. So the Moor left him and 
went his way; while * Ala-ed-Din went home and told his mother, 
and gave her the gold pieces, and said his uncle would fain take 
supper with them. So she arose forthwith and went to the market 
and bought what she needed, and returning home she set about 
making ready for the supper. And she borrowed from her neigh- 
bours what she needed of dishes and the rest, and when the time 
came for supper she said to her son: "Supper is ready, but perhaps 
thy uncle doth not know the way to the house; go therefore, and 
meet him on the road." And he answered, "I hear and obey." And 
whilst they were talking, a knock came at the door, and when 'Ala- 
ed-Din opened, behold, there was the Moorish wizard, with a 
eunuch carrying wine and fruit. And 'Ala-ed-Din brought them in, 
and the eunuch departed; but the Moor entered and saluted the 
mother, and began weeping and asking her questions, as, "Where 


is the place where my brother sat?" And when she shewed him her 
husband's seat, he went to it and prostrated himself and kissed 
the ground, and cried: "Ah, how small is my satisfaction and how 
cruel my fate, since I have lost thee, O my brother, O apple of my 
eye!" And he went on in this manner, weeping and waiHng, until 
'Ala-ed-Din's mother was assured that it was true, for verily he had 
swooned from the violence of his grief. And she raised him up 
from'the ground and said: "What benefit is there in killing thyself?" 
And she comforted him, and seated him. And after he was seated 
and before the supper-tray was served, the Moor began talking with 
her, and said: "O wife of my brother, let it not amaze thee that in 
all thy life thou hast neither seen me nor heard of me in the days 
of my departed brother; for it is forty years since I left this city and 
banished myself from my birthplace and wandered throughout the 
countries of India and China and Arabia, and came to Egypt and 
abode in its glorious capital, which is one of the wonders of the 
world, until at length I journeyed to the interior of the West and 
abode there for the space of thirty years. One day, O wife of my 
brother, I was sitting thinking of my native land and my birthplace 
and my blessed brother, and my longing to see him grew stronger, 
and I wept and wailed over my separation and distance from him. 
And at last my yearning made me determine to journey to this 
country, which is the pillow of my head and my birthplace, for to 
see my brother. For I said to myself: 'O man, how long wilt thou 
abandon thy country and thy native place, when thou hast but one 
brother and no more? So rise and journey and see him ere thou die; 
for who can tell the calamities of this world and the chances of life ? 
And it would be a sore grief to die without seeing thy brother. More- 
over, God (praised be his n'ame!) hath given thee abundant wealth, 
and perchance thy brother may be in distress and poverty, and thou 
canst succour him as well as look upon him.' Therefore I arose and 
made ready for the journey, and recited the Fatihah, and when the 
Friday prayers were over, I departed and came to this city, after 
many troubles and difficulties, which I endured by the help of God. 
So I arrived here, and the day before yesterday, as I roamed about 
the streets, I perceived thy son 'Ala-ed-Din playing with the boys, 
and by Almighty God, O wife of my brother, hardly had I seen 


him, when my heart went out to him (for blood is loving to its like) , 
and my heart told me that he was my brother's son. And I forgot my 
troubles and anxieties as soon as I saw him, and could have flown 
for joy, until he told me of the death of him who is gathered to the 
mercy of God most High; whereat I swooned for heaviness of grief 
and regret. But *Ala-ed-Din hath doubtless informed thee of my 
tribulation. Yet am I comforted in part by this child, who hath been 
bequeathed to us by the departed. Verily, *he who leaveth issue 
doth not die.' " 

And when he saw that she wept at his words, he turned to *Ala- 
ed-Din, to divert her from the thought of her husband; and to con- 
sole her and perfect his deception, he said, "O my son *Ala-ed-Din, 
what crafts has thou learned and what is thy trade? Hast thou 
learned a craft to support thee withal, thyself and thy mother?" 
And *Ala-ed-Din was ashamed and hung down his head in confu- 
sion, and bent it toward the ground. But his mother cried: "What 
then! By Allah, he knoweth nothing at all; I never saw so heedless 
a child as this. All the day he idleth about with the boys of the 
street, vagabonds like himself, and his father (O my grief!) died 
only of grieving over him. And I am now in woeful plight; I toil, 
and spin night and day to gain a couple of loaves of bread for us 
to eat together. This is his state, O brother-in-law; and by thy life 
he Cometh not home save to meals, and never else. And as for me, I 
am minded to lock the door of my house and open not to him, but 
let him go and seek his own living. I am an old woman, and I have 
not strength to work and struggle for a livelihood like this. By 
Allah, I have to support him with food, when it is I who ought to 
be supported." And the Moor turned to *Ala-ed-Din and said: "O 
son of my brother, why dost thou continue in such gracelessness ? 
It is shame upon thee and befitteth not men like thee. Thou art a 
person of sense, my boy, and the son of decent folk. It is a reproach 
to thee that thy mother, an aged woman, should toil for thy main- 
tenance. And now that thou hast reached manhood, it behooveth 
thee to devise some way whereby thou mayest be able to support 
thyself. Look about, for God be praised, in this our city there are 
plenty of teachers of handicrafts; nowhere more. So choose a craft 
that pleaseth thee, for me to set thee up therein, so that as thou 


waxest older, my son, thy trade shall bring thee maintenance. If so 
be thy father's calling liketh thee not, choose another that thou pre- 
ferrest. Tell me, and I will help thee as best I can, my son." And 
when he saw that *Ala-ed-Din was silent and answered him never a 
word, he knew that he did not wish any calling at all, save idling, 
so he said: "O son of my brother, let not my advice be irksome to 
thee; for if, after all, thou like not to learn a trade, I will open for 
thee a merchant's shop of the richest stuflFs, and thou shalt be known 
among the people, and take and give and buy and sell and become 
a man of repute in the city." And when 'Ala-ed-Din heard his uncle's 
words, that he would make him a merchant trader, he rejoiced 
greatly, for he knew that merchants are well dressed and well fed. 
So he looked smilingly at the Moor and inclined his head to signify 
his content. 

And when the Moorish wizard saw *Ala-ed-Din smiling, he per- 
ceived that he was content to be made a merchant, and he said to 
him: "Since thou art satisfied that I make thee a merchant and open 
a shop for thee, O son of my brother, be a man, and, God willing, 
to-morrow I will take thee to the market to begin with, and get cut 
for thee an elegant dress such as merchants wear, and then find for 
thee a shop, and keep my promise to thee." Now *Ala-ed-Din's 
mother had been in doubt whether the Moor were indeed her 
brother-in-law; but when she heard his promise to her son to open a 
merchant's shop for him and furnish him with goods and wares and 
the rest, the woman decided in her mind that this Moor was verily 
her brother-in-law, since no stranger would have acted thus to her 
son. And she began to direct her son and bade him banish igno- 
rance from his head and become a man, and ever obey his uncle like 
a son, and retrieve the time he had squandered in idling with his 
mates. Then she arose, and spread the table and served the supper, 
and they all sat down, and began to eat and drink; and the Moor 
discoursed to *Ala-ed-Din on the affairs of business and the like, so 
that the boy did not sleep that night for joy. And when he perceived 
that the night had fallen, the Moor arose and went to his abode and 
promised them to return on the morrow to take *Ala-ed-Din to have 
his merchant's clothes made. 

The next day the Moor rapped at the door, and the mother of 


*Ala-ed-Din arose and opened to him, but he would not enter, but 
only desired to take her son with him to the market. So 'Ala-ed-Din 
came forth to him and wished him good-day, and kissed his hand; 
and the Moor took him by the hand and went with him to the 
market, and entered a clothes-shop of all sorts of stuffs, and de- 
manded a sumptuous suit of merchant's style. So the dealer brought 
out what he required ready made. And the Moor said to *Ala-ed- 
Din: "Choose what pleaseth thee, my son." The boy rejoiced greatly 
when he understood that his uncle had given him his choice, and 
he picked out the suit he preferred; and the Moor paid the dealer 
the price on the spot. Then he took *Ala-ed-Din to the Hammam, 
and they bathed, and came forth, and drank sherbet. And *Ala-ed- 
Din arose and put on his new dress, rejoicing and preening; and he 
approached his uncle and thanked him, and kissed his hand, and 
acknowledged his kindness. 

After the Moor had come forth from the bath with 'Ala-ed-Din 
and taken him to the market of the merchants, and delighted him 
with the buying and selling therein, he said to him: "O son of my 
brother, it behooveth thee to become acquainted with the people, 
above all with the merchants, in order to learn their business, since 
it is now thy profession." And he took him and shewed him about 
the city and the mosques and all the sights of the place; and then 
led him to a cook-shop, where dinner was served to them on silver 
dishes; and they dined and ate and drank until they were satisfied, 
and then they went their way. And the Moor pointed out the 
pleasure-grounds, and great buildings, and entered the Sultan's 
palace, and shewed him all the beautiful large rooms. Then he took 
him to the Khan of the foreign merchants, where he had his lodging; 
and he invited some of the merchants in the Khan to supper; and 
when they sat down, he informed them that this was his brother's 
son, whose name was *Ala-ed-Din. And when they had eaten and 
drunk and night had fallen, he arose and took *Ala-ed-Din back to 
his mother. And when she saw her son, that he was one of the mer- 
chants, her reason departed for very joy, and she began to thank 
her brother-in-law for his goodness, saying: "O my brother-in-law, 
I could not satisfy myself if I thanked thee all my Ufe, and praised 
thee for the favour thou hast done to my son." And the Moor re- 


plied: "O wife of my brother, it is no favour at all, for this is my 
son, and it is my duty to fill the place of my brother, his father. So 
let it suffice thee." And she said : "I pray God, by his favoured ones, 
the saints of old and of latter days, to keep thee and prolong thy 
life to me, O my brother-in-lav^, so that thou mayest be a shield for 
this orphan youth, and he be ever obedient to thy command and 
do nothing save w^hat thou orderest him to do." And the Moor 
replied: "O wife of my brother, 'Ala-ed-Din is of man's estate and 
intelligent and of an honest stock, and please God he will follow 
his father's way and refresh thine eye. I am sorry, however, that, 
to-morrow being Friday the day of worship, I shall not be able to 
open his shop for him, because on that day all the merchants after 
service repair to the gardens and walks. But on Saturday, God will- 
ing, we will accomplish our affair. And to-morrow I will come here 
and take *Ala-ed-Din, and shew him the gardens and walks outside 
the city, which he may not perhaps have seen before, and point out 
to him the merchant folk and people of note who walk about and 
amuse themselves there, so that he may become acquainted with 
them and they with him." 

So the Moor slept that night at his abode, and in the morning he 
came to the tailor's house and rapped at the door. Now 'Ala-ed-Din, 
from excess of delight in his new dress, and what with the bathing 
and eating and drinking and sightseeing of the day before, and the 
expectation of his uncle's coming on the morrow to take him to the 
gardens, had not slept that night, nor closed his eyes, nor scarcely 
believed the morning had come. So as soon as he heard the rap at the 
door he ran out like a flash of fire and opened the door and met his 
uncle, who embraced and kissed him, and took him by the hand. 
And as they went along he said: "O son of my brother, to-day I 
will shew thee such a sight as thou never didst see in all thy life." 
And he made the boy laugh and entertained him with his talk. And 
they went out of the gate of the city and began meandering among 
the gardens: and the Moor pointed out the splendid pleasure- 
grounds and wondrous tall palaces. And so often as they looked upon 
a garden or mansion or palace, the Moor would pause and say: 
"Doth this astonish thee, O son of my brother?" And *Ala-ed-Din 
well nigh flew with delight at seeing things he had never imagined 


in all his born days. And they ceased not to wander about and 
amuse themselves till they were weary. Then they entered a large 
garden hard by, whereat the heart became light and the eye bright, 
for its brooks trickled amid flowers, and fountains gushed from the 
jaws of brazen lions, which shone like gold. So they sat down by a 
lake and rested awhile; and 'Ala-ed-Din was full of happiness and 
began to make merry and jest with his uncle as though he were of 
a truth his father's brother. Then the Moor arose, and loosening 
his girdle, took forth a wallet of food and fruit and so forth, saying : 
"O son of my brother, thou art hungry; come then and eat thy fill." 
So *Ala-ed-Din fell to eating and the Moor ate with him, and their 
souls were refreshed and made glad, and they reposed. And the 
Moor said: "O son of my brother, if thou art rested, let us walk a 
spell and finish our stroll." So *Ala-ed-Din arose, and the Moor led 
him from garden to garden till they had quitted all the gardens and 
come to a lofty hill. But 'Ala-ed-Din, who all his life had never 
gone beyond the city gates, or taken such a walk, said to the Moor : 
"O my uncle, whither do we go? We have left all the gardens 
behind us, and come to the mountain, and if the way be far, I have 
not strength to walk longer; nay, I am all but fainting from tired- 
ness. There are no more gardens ahead, so let us turn and go back 
to the city." But the Moor replied: "Nay, my son; this is the road, 
and it is not yet an end of the gardens; for we are just going to look 
at one such as is not to be seen among Kings' gardens, and all those 
thou hast seen are naught compared with it. So pluck up thy cour- 
age, for, God be praised, thou art now a grown man." And the 
Moor set to cheering *Ala-ed-Din with encouraging words, and re- 
lated wonderful tales, both true and false, until they came to the 
place which this Moorish sorcerer had fixed upon, and the which to 
find he had journeyed from the lands of the West to the countries 
of China. And when they arrived, he said to 'Ala-ed-Din: "O son 
of my brother, sit down and rest, for this is the place we are seeking, 
and if it please God I will shew thee wonders the like of which no 
one in the world ever saw before, nor hath any one rejoiced in look- 
ing upon what thou art to see. When thou art rested, arise and find 
some faggots of wood and thin dry sticks to make a fire. Then will 
I shew thee, O son of my brother, a thing beyond description." And 


when 'Ala-ed-Din heard this, he longed to see what his uncle would 
do, and forgot his weariness and straightway arose and began to 
collect small faggots and dry sticks and gathered them together till 
the Moor cried, "Enough, O son of my brother!" Then the Moor 
drew from his pocket a box, and opened it, and took from it what 
incense he required, and he burnt it and muttered adjurations and 
said mysterious words. And straightway, amid murk and quaking 
and thunder, the earth opened, and 'Ala-ed-Din was alarmed and 
terrified at this, and would have fled. But when the sorcerer per- 
ceived his intention, he was wroth and furiously enraged thereat, for 
without 'Ala-ed-Din his design would come to naught, and the 
treasure he sought to unearth could not be obtained save by means 
of the boy. And so when he saw him thinking of flight he made for 
him, and raising his hand, he smote him on the head, so that his 
teeth were almost knocked out, and he swooned and fell to the 
ground. And after a while he came to, by the spells of the Moor, 
and fell a-crying, and said : "O my uncle, what have I done to deserve 
such a blow from thee?" So the Moor began to mollify him, and 
said: "O my son, it is my intention to make a man of thee; so thwart 
me not, who am thine uncle, and, as it were, thy father. Obey me, 
rather, in all I tell thee, and shortly thou shalt forget all this toil and 
trouble when thou lookest upon marvellous things." Thereupon, 
when the earth had opened in front of the wizard, there appeared 
a marble slab, wherein was a ring of brass. And drawing geometric 
figures, the Moor said to 'Ala-ed-Din : "If thou dost what I tell thee, 
thou wilt become richer than all the Kings put together; and for this 
cause struck I thee, O my son, because there is buried here a treas- 
ure which is deposited in thy name, and yet thou wast about to 
abandon it and flee. And now pull thy wits together and behold 
how I have cloven the earth by my spells and incantations. 

"Under that stone with the ring," he continued, "is the Treasury 
whereof I told thee. Put forth thy hand to the ring and raise the 
stone, for no one in the world but thyself hath the power to open 
it, nor can any save thee set foot in this Treasury, which hath been 
reserved for thee alone. Wherefore thou must hearken to all that I 
bid thee, and not gainsay my words a jot. All this, O my son, is for 


thy good, since this treasure is immense. The Kings of the earth 
have never seen the Hke, and it is all for thee and for me." 

So poor 'Ala-ed-Din forgot his tiredness and the beating and the 
tears, and w^as dazzled at the words of the Moor, and rejoiced to 
think that he would become so rich that Kings would not be 
wealthier than he. And he said: "O my uncle, command me what 
thou wilt, and I will obey thy behest." And the Moor said to him: 
"O son of my brother, thou art like my own child, and more, since 
thou art my brother's son, and I have none of kin save thee; and 
thou art my heir and successor, O my son." And he approached 
'Ala-ed-Din and kissed him, saying: "For whom should I design all 
these labours of mine, my child, except for thee, that I may leave 
thee a rich man, as rich as can be! Wherefore thwart me not in any- 
thing I tell thee, but go to that ring and lift it as I bade thee." And 
'Ala-ed-Din said: "O my uncle, this ring is too heavy for me; I 
cannot lift it alone; come and help me to raise it, for I am little in 
years." But the Moor replied: "O my brother's son, we can accom- 
plish nothing if I aid thee, and our labours would be vain; put then 
thy hand to the ring and lift it, and the stone will come up imme- 
diately. Did I not tell thee that none can move it but thyself? Re- 
peat thy name and the names of thy father and mother, whilst thou 
pullest, and it will come up at once, and thou wilt not feel its weight." 
So 'Ala-ed-Din summoned his strength and plucked up his courage, 
and set to work as his uncle had bidden him, and lifted the stone 
with perfect ease, after saying the names of himself and his father 
and mother as the Moor had counselled him. So he lifted the slab 
and cast it on one side. 

And when he had lifted the slab from the door of the Treasury, 
before him lay a passage entered by a descent of twelve steps. And 
the Moor said to him : " 'Ala-ed-Din, pull thy wits together, and do 
exactly what I tell thee to the uttermost, and fail not a little from it. 
Descend carefully into yonder passage until thou reachest the end, 
and there shalt thou find a place divided into four chambers, and 
in each of these thou shalt see four golden jars and others of virgin 
gold and silver. Beware that thou touch them not nor take any- 
thing out of them, but leave them and go on to the fourth chamber, 


without even brushing them with thy clothes or loitering a single 
moment; for i£ thou do contrary to this thou wilt straightway be 
transformed and become a black stone. And when thou comest to 
the fourth chamber thou wilt find a door; then open the door, and 
repeating the names thou saidst over the slab, enter, and verily thou 
wilt pass thence into a garden full of fruit trees, whence thou wilt 
proceed by a path which thou wilt see in front of thee about fifty 
cubits long, and come upon an alcove^ in which is a ladder of about 
fifty steps, and thou shalt see, moreover, a Lamp suspended above the 
alcove. Take thou the Lamp, and pour out the oil therein, and put 
it in thy breast and be not afraid for thy clothes, since it is but com- 
mon oil. And on thy return thou mayest pluck what thou pleasest 
from the trees, for all is thine so long as the Lamp continue in thy 
hand." And when he had ended, the Moor took a signet ring from 
his finger and put it on 'Ala-ed-Din's finger, and said: "My son, 
this ring will guard thee from all peril and fear that may behest 
thee, so long as thou obeyest all that I have told thee. Arise, there- 
fore, forthwith and descend and pluck up thy courage, and strengthen 
thy resolve and fear not, for thou art a man now, and no longer a 
child. And after this, my boy, thou shalt speedily become possessed 
of riches galore, till thou art the richest man in the world." 

So 'Ala-ed-Din arose and went down into the cavern and found 
the four chambers and the four golden jars therein, and these he 
passed by with all care and precaution, as the Moor had told him, 
and he came to the garden and went through it till he found the 
alcove, and climbing the ladder, he took the Lamp and poured out 
the oil and put it in his bosom, and went down into the garden, 
where he began to marvel at the trees with the birds on their 
branches singing the praises of their glorious Creator. And though 
he had not noticed it when he entered, these trees were all covered 
with precious stones instead of fruit, and each tree was of a different 
kind and had different jewels, of all colours, green and white and 
yellow and red and other colours, and the brilliance of these jewels 
paled the sun's rays at noontide. And the size of each stone surpassed 
description, so that none of the Kings of the world possessed any 
like the largest or half the size of the least of them. And *Ala-ed- 

^ Liwan. 


Din walked among the trees and gazed upon them and on these 
things which dazzled the sight and bewildered the mind, and as he 
examined them he perceived that instead of ordinary fruit the yield 
was of big jewels, emeralds and diamonds, and rubies and pearls, 
and other precious stones, such as to bewilder the understanding. But 
as he had never seen such things in his life, and had not reached 
mature years so as to know the value of such jewels (for he was still 
a little boy), he imagined that these jewels were all of glass or 
crystal. And he gathered pockets full of them, and began to examine 
whether they were ordinary fruit, like figs or grapes and other like 
eatables; but when he saw that they were of glass (knowing nothing 
of precious stones), he put some of each kind that grew on the trees 
into his pockets, and finding them of no use for food, he said in his 
mind : "I will gather these glass fruits and play with them at home." 
So he began plucking them and stuffing them into his pockets until 
they were full; and then, when he had picked more and put them 
in his girdle, and girded it on, he carried off all he could, intending 
to use them for ornaments at home, since he imagined, as has been 
said, that they were only glass. Then he hastened his steps, for fear 
of his uncle, the Moor, and passed through the four chambers, and 
came to the cavern, without as much as looking at the jars of gold, 
notwithstanding that on his way back he was permitted to take of 
them. And when he came to the steps, and ascended them till none 
remained but the last one, which was higher than the others, he 
was unable to climb it by himself, without help, seeing that he was 
weighted. And he called to the Moor: "O my uncle, give me thy 
hand and help me to get up." And the sorcerer replied : "O my son, 
give me the Lamp, and lighten thyself; perhaps it is that which 
weigheth thee down." But he answered: "O my uncle, the Lamp 
doth not weigh me down at all; give me only thy hand, and when 
I am up I will give thee the Lamp." But since the wizard wanted 
only the Lamp, and nought beside, he began to urge 'Ala-ed-Din 
to give it him, which, since it was at the bottom of his dress and the 
bags of precious stones bulged over it, he could not reach to give it 
him; so the Moor pressed him to give what he could not, and raged 
furiously, and persisted in demanding the Lamp, when *Ala-ed-Din 
could not get at it to give it him. 


And when 'Ala-ed-Din could not get at the Lamp to give it to 
his uncle, the Moor, the impostor, he became frantic at not gaining 
his desire, though 'Ala-ed-Din had promised to give it him vi^ithout 
guile or deceit as soon as he got out of the cave. But when the Moor 
saw that 'Ala-ed-Din would not give him the Lamp, he was furiously 
enraged and gave up all hope of getting it. So he muttered incanta- 
tions and threw incense into the fire, and immediately the slab shut 
of itself and by the power of magic became closed, the earth buried 
the stone as heretofore, and 'Ala-ed-Din remained under the ground 
unable to come forth. For this sorcerer, as we have related, was a 
stranger and no uncle of 'Ala-ed-Din's; but he misrepresented him- 
self and asserted a lie, in order to gain possession of this Lamp by 
means of the youth. 

So the accursed Moor heaped the earth over him and left him, for 
whose sake this treasure had been preserved, to die of hunger. For 
this damnable Moorish sorcerer was from the land of Africa, from 
the inner Westland, and from his youth he had practised sorcery 
and all magic arts (the City of Africa [in Barbary] is well known 
for all these mysteries), and he ceased not to study and learn from 
his childhood in the City of Africa until he had mastered all the 
sciences. And one day, by his accomplished skill in sciences and 
knowledge, acquired in the course of forty years of sorcery and 
incantation, he discovered that in a remote city of China, called El- 
Kal'as, there was buried a vast treasure the like of which not one of 
the Kings of this world had ever amassed, and among this treasure 
was a Wonderful Lamp, which whoso possessed, mortal man could 
not excel him in estate or in riches, nor could the mightiest King 
upon earth attain to the opulence of this Lamp and its power and 
its potency. And when he discovered by his science and perceived 
that this treasure could only be obtained by means of a boy of the 
name of *Ala-ed-Din, of poor family, and belonging to that city, and 
understood how it could thus be taken easily and without trouble, 
he straightway and without hesitation prepared to journey to China, 
as we have said, and did with *Ala-ed-Din what he did, and imagined 
that he would gain possession of the Lamp. But his design and his 
hopes were frustrated and his labour was in vain. So he resolved 
to do *Ala-ed-Din to death, and heaped the earth over him to the 


end that he might die, for "the Hving hath no murderer." More- 
over, he resolved upon this, in order that *Ala-ed-Din, as he could 
not get out, should not be able to bring up the Lamp from below 
ground. Then he w^ent his w^ay and returned to the regions of 
Africa, dejected in spirit and disappointed of his aim. Thus w^as it 
with the sorcerer. 

But as for 'Ala-ed-Din, when the earth was heaped over him, be 
began to call to his uncle, the Moor, whom he believed to be such, 
to stretch out his hand, that he might come forth from the vault 
to the face of the earth; and he shouted, and no one answered him. 
Then he understood the trick which the Moor had played upon him, 
and that he was no uncle at all, but a lying magician. So *Ala-ed-Din 
despaired of his life, and perceived to his grief that there remained 
to him no escape to the earth's surface, and he began to weep and 
bewail that which had befallen him. But after awhile he arose and 
descended to see if God Most High would provide him a door of 
escape. And he went, turning to right and left, and found nothing 
but darkness, and four doors shut against him; for the sorcerer by 
his magic had closed all the doors, and had even shut that of the 
garden through which 'Ala-ed-Din had passed, so that he might 
not find there a door by which to escape to the surface of the earth, 
and thus to hasten his death. And 'Ala-ed-Din's weeping increased 
and his wailing grew louder when he saw the doors all shut, and 
the garden also, where he had intended to console himself awhile; 
but he found everything closed, and he gave himself up to weeping 
and lamenting, like him who hath abandoned hope, and he returned 
and sat on the steps of the vault where he had first entered. 

Thus he sat weeping and waiUng and hopeless. But a small thing 
is it to God (extolled and exalted be he!) if he willeth a thing to 
say to it, "Be," and it is. Thus doth he create joy in the midst of woe; 
and thus was it with 'Ala-ed-Din. When the Moorish sorcerer sent 
him to the vault, he gave him a ring and put it on his finger, saying, 
"Verily this ring will guard thee from all danger if thou be in trouble 
and difficulties, and take away from thee all evils, and be thy helper 
wheresoever thou art." And this was by the decree of God Most 
High, that it should be the means of 'Ala-ed-Din's escape. For whilst 
he sat weeping and lamenting his case and abandoning his hope of 


life, overwhelmed with his misfortune, in his exceeding tribulation 
he began wringing his hands as the sorrowful are wont to do. And 
he raised his hands supplicating God, and saying: "I testify that there 
is no God but thee alone, the mighty, the omnipotent, the all-con- 
quering, the quickener of the dead, creator of needs and fulfiUer 
thereof, who dispellest troubles and anxieties and turnest them into 
joy. Thou sufficest me, and thou art the best of protectors; and I 
testify that Mohammad is thy servant and apostle. O my God, by 
his favour with thee, release me from this calamity." And whilst he 
was supplicating God and wringing his hands from heaviness of 
grief at the calamity which had overtaken him, his hand happened 
to rub the ring, and, behold, immediately the Slave of the Ring 
appeared before him and cried: "Here I am, thy slave, between thy 
hands. Ask what thou wilt, for I am the slave of him on whose 
hand is the ring, the ring of my master." And 'Ala-ed-Din looked 
up and saw a Marid Hke the Jinn of our Lord Suleyman, standing 
before him; and he was affrighted at the awful apparition, until he 
heard the Slave of the Ring say : "Ask what thou wilt, for verily am 
I thy servant, because the ring of my master is on thy hand." So he 
recovered his spirit and called to mind the words of the Moor when 
he gave him the ring. And he rejoiced exceedingly and plucked up 
heart and said to him : "O Slave of the Ring, I wish thee to convey 
me to the surface of the earth." And hardly had he spoken when, 
behold, the earth gaped open and he found himself at the door of 
the Treasury, outside, in face of the world. And when *Ala-ed-Din 
saw himself thus in face of the world, after being three days under 
ground sitting in the dark Treasury, and the light of day and the 
sunshine smote his face and he could not open his eyes for it, he 
began to open his eyelids little by little till his eyes were stronger and 
became accustomed to the light and recovered from the gloom. 

Then he perceived that he was on the surface of the earth, whereat 
he rejoiced greatly, and it astonished him that he should be outside 
the door of the Treasury which he had entered when the Moorish 
sorcerer opened it, and yet that the door should be shut and the 
earth made level so that there was no trace of an entrance at all. 
And he wondered more and more, and could not believe he was in 
the same place, till he saw the spot where they had lighted the fire 


of sticks and faggots, and the place where the sorcerer had muttered 
his incantations. Then turning right and left, he saw the gardens 
at a distance, and perceived the road, and he knew it was the same 
by which he had come. So he gave thanks to God Most High, who 
had brought him back to the earth's surface and saved him from 
death after the hope of life had abandoned him. So he arose and 
walked on the road which he recognized till he came to the city, 
and entered, and repaired to his home, and went to his mother. And 
when he saw her, he swooned on the ground before her from exceed- 
ing joy at his escape and the recollection of the terror and toil and 
hunger he had endured. And his mother had been sorrowful since 
his departure, and had sat sobbing and weeping for him; so when 
she saw him come in she rejoiced over him with great joy, though 
grief seized her when she saw him fall swooning to the ground. 
But she did not give way to her anxiety in the predicament, but 
poured water on his face and borrowed from her neighbours aro- 
matics for him to sniff. And when he was somewhat restored, he 
begged her to give him something to eat, saying to her: "O my 
mother, it is now three days since I ate anything at all." And his 
mother arose and prepared for him what she had ready by her, and 
set it before him, saying: "Come, my son, eat and refresh thyself, 
and when thou art restored, tell me what hath happened to thee 
and befallen thee, O my child; but I will not ask thee now, because 
thou art weary." So *Ala-ed-Din ate and drank and became restored, 
and when he was better and had regained his spirits, he said to his 
mother : "Ah, my mother, I have a heavy reckoning against thee for 
abandoning me to that devilish man who sought my ruin and de- 
sired to kill me. Know that I looked death in the face on account 
of the accursed reprobate whom thou didst acknowledge as my 
uncle; and had not God Most High delivered me from him, both 
I and thou, my mother, would have been imposed upon by the 
plenitude of this villain's promises of the good he would do me, and 
the zeal of the love he displayed for me. But know, O mother, that 
this man is a sorcerer, a Moor, a liar, accursed, impostor, cheat, 
hypocrite. I hold the devils beneath the earth are not his match. May 
God condemn every record of his deeds! Listen, then, my mother, 
to what this devil did — for all I tell thee is really true. See how this 


accursed one brake every promise he made me to work me good; 
and look at the love he shewed me and how he acted; and all to 
attain his own ambition! And he would have killed me — God be 
thanked for my deliverance. Consider and hearken, O my mother, 
how this Man of the curse acted." Then *Ala-ed-Din informed his 
mother all that had befallen him — weeping for excess of joy — telling 
her how, after he had left her, the Moor had led him to a mountain 
wherein was a treasure, and how he had muttered incantations and 
spells. And he added: "After that, O my mother, he beat me till 
I fainted from soreness, and a great horror gat hold of me, when 
the mountain split asunder and the earth opened before me by his 
sorcery, and I trembled and was af eared at the roaring of the thunder 
which I heard and the darkness which fell around as he muttered 
his spells. And I would fain have fled from fear when I saw these 
awful sights. So when he saw that I was bent upon flight, he reviled 
me and beat me. But, since the Treasure could not be unearthed 
save by me, as it was in my name, and not his, and because this ill- 
omened sorcerer knew that it could only be opened by my means, 
and this was what he wanted me for; therefore, after beating me, 
he thought it better to mollify me in order to send me to open the 
Treasure and obtain his desire. And when he sent me, he gave me 
a ring and put it on my finger, after it had been on his own. So I 
descended into the Treasury, and found four chambers all full of gold 
and silver and the like, and all this was as nought, for that Devil's 
own hand commanded me to touch nothing of it. Then I entered 
a great garden full of lofty trees, whose fruits confounded the rea- 
son, for all were of glass of delightful colours; and I came to the hall 
in which was this Lamp, and I took it forthwith and emptied it." 
And 'Ala-ed-Din took out the Lamp from his bosom, and shewed 
it to his mother, and in Hke manner the precious stones which he 
had brought from the garden, of which there were two large pockets 
full, ©f such as not one was to be met with among the Kings of the 
world. But 'Ala-ed-Din knew not their worth, but deemed them 
glass or crystal. And he continued: "After getting the Lamp, O 
my mother, and arriving at the door of the Treasury, I called to 
the accursed Moor, who passed himself off as my uncle, to give me 
his hand and help me up, as I was overburdened with things and 


could not get up alone. But he would not give me his hand, but said: 
*Hand up the Lamp that is with thee, and then I will give thee my 
hand and help thee out.' But I had put the Lamp at the bottom of 
my pocket, and the bags stuck out above it, and I could not get it 
out to give it him, and I said: 'O my uncle, I cannot give thee the 
Lamp, but when I am up I will give it thee.' But he did not mean 
to help me out, for he only wanted the Lamp; and his intention was 
to take it from me and heap the earth over me and destroy me, as 
he did his best to do. And this is what happened, O my mother, 
from this ill-omened sorcerer." And 'Ala-ed-Din told her all the 
story to the end thereof, and fell to cursing the Moor with all his 
might from out of his raging soul, saying: "O my mother, woe to 
this damnable sorcerer, this ill-omened, vile, inhuman cheat and 
hypocrite, who contemneth all human kindness, and spurneth mercy 
and compassion!" 

When his mother heard her son's story and what the Moorish 
sorcerer had done to him, she said: "Yea, my son, of a truth he is a 
miscreant and a hypocrite, a hypocrite who slays folk by his magic; 
and it was only the grace of God Most High, my son, that delivered 
thee from the wiles and spells of this accursed, whom I believed to 
be in truth thine uncle." And 'Ala-ed-Din, since he had not slept a 
wink for three days, and found himself nodding, sought his repose 
and went to sleep, and his mother likewise slept afterwards; and he 
did not wake up till near noon on the second day. As soon as he was 
awake he wanted something to eat, for he was hungry. And she said 
to him: "O my son, I have nought to give thee, because thou didst 
eat yesterday all that there was in the house; but wait awhile; I have 
spun yarn which I will take to the market and sell and buy thee 
something to eat with the proceeds." To which 'Ala-ed-Din replied : 
"Mother, keep thy yarn; sell it not, but give me the Lamp I brought, 
that I may go sell it, and buy therewith something to eat, for I think 
the Lamp will fetch more than the yarn." So she arose and brought 
the Lamp to her son, and she found it very dirty, and said: "O my 
son, here is the Lamp, but verily it is dirty, and when we have cleaned 
and polished it it will sell for a greater price." So she went and 
took a handful of sand, and fell to rubbing the Lamp therewith; but 
she had hardly begun to rub when there appeared before her one 


of the Jann, of terrible aspect and vast stature, as it were of the 
giants. And he said to her: "Tell me what thou dost want of me; 
here am I, thy slave, and the slave of him who holdeth the Lamp; 
not I only, but all the slaves of the Wonderful Lamp which is in 
thy hand." But she trembled, and fear gat hold of her, and her 
tongue clave as she gazed upon that terrible form; and she could 
not answer, because she was not accustomed to seeing apparitions 
like that. So in her terror she could not make any reply to the Marid, 
but fell down overcome with alarm. But 'Ala-ed-Din her son was 
waiting hard by, and had seen the 'Efrit of the Ring which he had 
rubbed when in the Treasury; and hearing the speech of the Jinni 
to his mother, he hastened forward and seized the Lamp from her 
hand, saying: "O Slave of the Lamp, I am hungry; and I wish thee 
to bring me something to eat, and let it be something good beyond 
imagination." So the Jinni vanished for a moment and brought 
him a magnificent tray of great price, made of pure silver, on which 
were twelve dishes of various foods and delicious dainties, and two 
cups of silver and flagons of clear old wine, and bread whiter than 
snow; and he set them before 'Ala-ed-Din and vanished. And *Ala- 
ed-Din arose and sprinkled water on his mother's face and made 
her smell pungent perfumes, and she revived. Then he said : "O my 
mother, come and eat of this food which God Most High hath pro- 
vided for us." And when his mother saw the beautiful table, that 
it was of silver, she marvelled at this affair, and said: "O my son, 
who is this generous benefactor that hath satisfied our hunger and 
lightened our poverty ? Verily we are in his debt, and I am thinking 
that the Sultan, seeing our case and our poverty, sent this tray of 
food to us himself." "O my mother," he answered, "this is not a 
time for speculation; come, let us eat, for we are an-hungered." So 
they went and sat down to the tray and fell to eating, and 'Ala-ed- 
Din's mother tasted viands such as never in all her life had she 
eaten the like thereof. So they ate heartily with the utmost appetite 
from the violence of their hunger; moreover, the food was fit for 
Kings. But they knew not if the tray were precious or not, for they 
had never seen its like in their born days. And when they had done 
eating (but they left enough for supper and to last for the next day), 
they arose and washed their hands and sat down to talk, and 'Ala- 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 361 

ed-Din's mother turned to her son and said : "O my son, tell me what 
took place with the Slave, the Jinni, now that God be praised, we 
have eaten and satisfied ourselves from his good things, and thou 
hast no excuse for saying to me, 'I am hungry.' " So, 'Ala-ed-Din 
told her all that had taken place between him and the Slave, while 
she was fallen in a swoon from aflfright. And sore amazement took 
hold upon her, and she said to him : "It is true, for the Jinn do appear 
before the son of Adam, though I, O my child, in all my days have 
never seen them; and I am thinking that this is the same that 
appeared to thee in the Treasury." But he repUed: "It is not he, O 
my mother; this slave who appeared before thee is the Slave of the 
Lamp." And when she heard these words she said: "How is that, 
my son?" And he answered her: "This slave is different in aspect 
from that; and that one was the Slave of the Ring, and this which 
thou sawest is the Slave of the Lamp which was in thy hand." 

And when she heard this she said: "Aha! that accursed, who 
appeared to me and nearly killed me with fright, belonged to the 
Lamp!" "Yes," he said, and she continued: "I adjure thee, O my 
son, by the milk which thou didst suck from me cast away this 
Lamp and Ring, since they will cause us great fear, and as for me, 
I cannot bide a second time to look at them. And it is forbidden us 
to deal with them, since the Prophet (God bless and save him!) 
hath warned us against them." And he said to her: "O my mother, 
thy behests be on my head and my eye! Yet as to this behest which 
thou hast spoken, it is not possible for me to abandon either the 
Lamp or the Ring. Thyself hast seen what good they did us when 
we were an-hungered; and know, O my mother, that the Moor the 
liar, the sorcerer, when I was sent down to the Treasury, wanted 
nought of the gold and silver of which the four chambers were full, 
but commanded me only to bring him the Lamp, and nought be- 
sides, because he knew its great value, and unless he had known that 
this was immense, he had not toiled and laboured and journeyed 
from his own country to ours in search of it, nor would he have 
imprisoned me in the Treasury when he despaired of the Lamp, 
when I would not give it to him. Therefore, O my mother, it be- 
hooveth us to hold fast by this Lamp and take care of it, for it is 
our sustenance, and shall make us rich, and we must not publish it 


abroad to anyone. And as touching the Ring, in Hke manner I may 
not take it oif my finger, since but for this ring thou hadst not seen 
me again aUve, but I should have lain dead within the Treasury 
under the ground. Then how can I take it oflE my hand ? And who 
knoweth what may befall me in life of troubles and perils and sore 
calamities, from which this Ring may deliver me ? Only in deference 
to thy wishes I will conceal the Lamp, and never again constrain 
thee to look upon it." And when his mother had heard his words 
and had well weighed them, she perceived they were right, and said 
to him: "O my son, do as thou wilt; for myself, I wish never to see 
them again, nor would I willingly witness once more the terrible 
sight which I have seen." 

*Ala-ed-Din and his mother continued eating of the viands which 
the Jinni had brought them, two days, and then they were done. So 
perceiving that nothing remained to them to eat, he arose, and took 
one of the plates which the slave had brought on the tray, which 
were of pure gold, though he knew it not; and he went with it to 
the market. And there met him a Jew, viler than the devils, and 
to him he offered the plate. And when the Jew saw it, he took 
*Ala-ed-Din aside so that none should see, and examined the plate 
carefully and assured himself that it was of fine gold; and not 
knowing whether *Ala-ed-Din was acquainted with its worth or 
was inexperienced in such things, he said to him: "How much, O 
my master, is this dish?" And *Ala-ed-Din answered, "Thou know- 
est its value." And the Jew considered how much he should bid 
for it, since *Ala-ed-Din had answered him a business-Uke answer; 
so he thought to offer him a small price, and yet he feared that *Ala- 
ed-Din might know the value of it and expect to receive a high price. 
So he said within himself: "Perchance he is ignorant of it and 
knoweth not the value." Then he took from his pocket a dinar of 
gold and gave it him. And when 'Ala-ed-Din had looked at the 
piece of gold in his hand, he took it and quickly went away. So the 
Jew knew that the youth did not understand the value of the plate, 
so he repented with abject repentance that he had given him a dinar 
instead of a carat of a sixtieth. *Ala-ed-Din meanwhile did not tarry, 
but went to the baker's and bought of him bread and changed the 
dinar and took and went to his mother and gave her the bread and 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 363 

the change of the gold, and said to her: "O my mother, go and buy 
for us what we need." And she arose and went to the market and 
bought all they required, and they ate and were merry. And every 
time the price of a plate was exhausted, 'Ala-ed-Din took another 
and went with it to the Jew, and the accursed Hebrew bought it of 
him for a pitiful price; and he would have reduced the price further, 
but he was afraid, as he had given him a dinar the first time, that 
if he reduced it the youth would go away and sell to some one else, 
and he would thus lose his usurious gains. And *Ala-ed-Din ceased 
not to sell plate after plate till all were sold, and there remained only 
the tray on which the plates were set; and as this was large and 
heavy, he went and brought the Jew to his house, and shewed him 
the tray, and when he saw its size he gave him ten dinars, which 
*Ala-ed-Din took, and the Jew departed. And 'Ala-ed-Din and his 
mother subsisted on the ten dinars till they were done. 

Then *Ala-ed-Din arose and fetched the Lamp, and rubbed it, and 
there appeared before him the Slave who had appeared to him be- 
fore. And the Jinni said to him : "Command what thou wilt, O my 
master, for I am thy slave and the slave of him who possesseth the 
Lamp." And *Ala-ed-Din answered: "My desire is that thou bring 
me a tray of food like unto that which thou didst bring me before, 
for I am starving." Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the Slave 
brought him a tray, like the one he came with before; and on it 
were twelve plates of the richest, and on them the proper viands; 
and on the tray were also bottles of clear wine and white bread. Now 
'Ala-ed-Din's mother had gone forth when she knew that her son 
intended to rub the Lamp, that she might not look a second time 
upon the Jinni; and presently she came home and perceived this 
tray, covered with dishes of silver, and the odour of rich viands per- 
meating her house; and she wondered and rejoiced. And *Ala-ed- 
Din said to her : "See, O my mother, thou didst tell me to cast away 
the Lamp; behold now its advantages!" And she answered: "O my 
son, God multiply his weal! but I would not look upon him." Then 
*Ala-ed-Din and his mother sat down to the tray, and ate and drank 
till they were satisfied; and they put aside what was left for the 
morrow. And when the food they had was finished, *Ala-ed-Din 
arose and took a plate of the plates of the tray under his garment 


and sallied forth in quest of the Jew to sell it to him; but by the 
decrees of destiny he passed by the shop of a jeweller, who was a 
just man and feared God. And when the jeweller sheykh saw *Ala- 
ed-Din he questioned him, saying: "O my son, what dost thou want? 
for I have seen thee often passing by, and thou wast dealing with a 
Jewish man, and I have seen thee making over to him various 
things, and I am thinking that thou hast something with thee now, 
and thou seekest him to buy it. But thou dost not know, O my son, 
that the property of the Muslims, who profess the Unity of God Most 
High, is fair spoil to the Jews, who always defraud them, and worst 
of all this damned Jew with whom thou hast dealt and into whose 
hands thou hast fallen. So if thou hast with thee, O my son, any- 
thing thou wishest to sell, shew it me, and fear not at all, for I will 
give thee its value by the truth of the Most High God." So 'Ala- 
ed-Din produced the plate before the sheykh, who when he had 
looked upon it, took it and weighed it in his balance, and ques- 
tioned *Ala-ed-Din and said : "Didst thou sell the like of this to the 
Jew?" And he answered, "Yes, its like and its brother." And the 
other said: "How much did he give thee for its price?" And he 
answered, "He gave me a dinar." And when the sheykh heard from 
*Ala-ed-Din that the Jew had given him only a single dinar for the 
price of the plate, he exclaimed: "Woe to this accursed who cheats 
the servants of the Most High God!" And looking at 'Ala-ed-Din 
he said: "O my son, verily this rascally Jew hath cheated thee and 
mocked at thee; for thy plate is of fine virgin silver; and I have 
weighed it and found its value to be seventy dinars. So if thou wilt 
take its price, take it." And the jeweller sheykh counted out to him 
seventy dinars, and 'Ala-ed-Din took them, and thanked him for 
his kindness in shewing him the Jew's fraud. And whenever the 
price of a plate was gone, he went and brought another, so that he 
and his mother became well to do, though they ceased not to live as 
of old, as middle-class people, without excess or waste. 

'Ala-ed-Din had cast aside his gracelessness and shunned vaga- 
bonds, and chose for his companions upright men, and went every 
day to the market of the merchants and sat with the great and the 
small of them, and asked them concerning matters of business and 
the price of investments and the rest. And he would visit the market 


of the goldsmiths and jewellers; and there he would sit and divert 
himself with looking at the jewels and how they were bought and 
sold there. And thus he learned that the pockets full of fruit which 
he had gathered in the Treasury were not of glass or crystal, but 
were precious stones. And he knew that he had become possessed 
of vast riches such as Kings could never amass. And he examined 
all the stones that were in the market of the jewellers and found 
that their very biggest was not equal to his smallest. And he ceased 
not each day to saunter to the Bazar of the Jewellers and make 
acquaintance with the people, and obtain their good-will, and in- 
quire of them concerning buying and selling and taking and giving 
and the dear and the cheap; till one day, after rising betimes and 
putting on his dress, he went as was his wont to the Bazar of the 
Jewellers, and as he passed he heard the herald calling thus: "By 
command of the gracious patron. King of the Time, Lord of the 
Age and the Season: now let all the people close their stores and 
shops and enter in unto their houses, because Bedr-el-Budur, the 
daughter of the Sultan, intendeth to visit the bath; and whoso dis- 
obeyeth the order, death is his penalty, and his blood be on his own 
head." And when *Ala-ed-Din heard this proclamation, he longed 
to look upon the Sultan's daughter, and said within himself: "Verily 
all the folk talk of her beauty and loveliness, and the summit of my 
ambition is to behold her." 

So 'Ala-ed-Din set himself to seek a way whereby he might attain 
to a sight of the daughter of the Sultan, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur; and 
it seemed best to him to stand behind the door of the Hammam, so 
as to see her face when she came in. Accordingly, without any delay, 
he went to the bath before she was expected and stood behind the 
door, a place where no one could see him; and when the daughter of 
the Sultan drew near, after going about the city and its quarters and 
diverting herself thereby, she came to the bath, and on entering, 
lifted her veil and displayed her face, as it were a radiant sun or a 
pearl of great price; for she was as the poet sang: 

Borders of kohl enhance the witchery of her glance, 
Gardens of roses are her damask cheeks, 
Black are her tresses as the gloomy night, 
Illumined by the glory of her brow. 


When the princess raised her veil from her face and 'Ala-ed-Din 
looked upon her, he said: "Of a surety her make magnifieth the 
Mighty Maker, and extolled be he who made her and adorned her 
with such beauty and loveliness!" His vigour became weak at the 
sight of her, and his thoughts became distraught, and his sight be- 
wildered, and love of her got hold of his whole soul; and he went 
home and returned to his mother like one in a dream. And his 
mother spake to him, but he replied not yea or nay; and she set 
before him breakfast, but he remained in the same state. So she 
said to him: "O my son, what hath befallen thee? Doth anything 
distress thee? Tell me what hath happened to thee, for thou, con- 
trary to thy wont, repliest not when I speak to thee." Then *Ala- 
ed-Din, — who had believed that all women were like his mother, 
and though he had heard of the beauty of Bedr-el-Budur, the 
daughter of the Sultan, yet knew not what this beauty and loveliness 
might mean, — turned to his mother and said to her, "Let me alone." 
But she urged him to come and eat; so he came and ate a little, and 
then lay on his bed pondering till morning dawned. And he ceased 
not from this state the next day, so that his mother was perplexed 
for her son's condition and could not find out what had come over 
him. And she believed he was seriously sick, and came and asked 
him, saying: "O my son, if thou feel pain or anything of the kind, 
tell me, that I may go and bring thee a physician; and this very day 
there is in this city a doctor from the land of the Arabs whom the 
Sultan sent for, and the rumour goeth that he is very skilful. So if 
thou be sick, let me go and call him in." 

When 'Ala-ed-Din heard that his mother wished to bring him a 
physician, he said to her: "O my mother, I am well, and not sick at 
all. But I always believed that all women resembled thee, until 
yesterday I saw the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, 
going in to the bath." And he told her all that had betided him, and 
said: "Perhaps thou didst also hear the herald calling: 'Let no man 
open his shop or stay in the streets, that the Lady Bedr-el-Budur may 
go to the Bath.' But I did look upon her, even as she is, because 
she lifted her veil at the entering of the bath. And when I gazed 
on her form and saw that noble shape, there seized me, O my 
mother, a violent ecstasy of love for her, and a fixed resolve to win 


her possesseth every part o£ me; nor can I possibly rest until I gain 
her. And I intend, therefore, to demand her of the Sultan, her 
father, in lawful wedlr)ck." And when his mother heard his words 
she feared for his reason, and said: "O my son, God's name be on 
thee! for it is plain thou hast lost thy reason, my son. But be guided, 
and be not as the insane." And he answered: "O my mother, I have 
not lost my reason, nor am I mad, nor can thy words alter what is 
in my mind, for peace is impossible to me till I win the beloved of 
my heart, the lovely Lady Bedr-el-Budur. And I am determined to 
demand her of her father, the Sultan." And she said to him : "O my 
son, by my life, say not so, lest any one hear thee and say thou art 
mad. Put away from thee this folly; for who should do a thing like 
this, to ask it of the Sultan? And I know not how thou wilt set to 
work to ask this favour of the Sultan, even if thy speech be true, or 
through whom thou wilt ask it." And he answered: "Through 
whom, O my mother, should I make this request, when I have thee ? 
And whom have I more trusty than thee? It is my wish that thou 
thyself ask this request." And she said: "O my son, God preserve 
me from this! Have I lost my reason like thee? Cast away this 
thought from thy soul, and think whose son thou art, my son, the 
child of a tailor, of the poorest and meanest of the tailors to be 
found in this city; and I, too, thy mother, come of very poor folk. 
So how dost thou presume to ask in marriage a daughter of the 
Sultan, who would not deign to marry her to any of the Kings and 
Sultans, unless they were his equals in grandeur and honour and 
majesty; and were they less than he but a single degree he would not 
give them his daughter." 

*Ala-ed-Din waited patiently till his mother had ended her speech, 
and then said: "O my mother, all that thou recallest I know, and it 
is familiar to me that I am the son of the poor; but all these thy 
words cannot change my purpose in the least, nor do I the less expect 
of thee, as I am thy son and thou lovest me, to do me this kindness; 
otherwise thou wilt undo me, and speedy death is upon me; unless I 
obtain my desire of the darling of my heart; and in any case, O 
my mother, I am thy child." And when she heard his words she 
wept in her grief for him, and said : "O my son, yea verily I am thy 
mother, nor have I child or blood of my blood save thee; and the 


height of my desire is to rejoice in thee and wed thee to a wife; but 
if I seek to ask for thee a bride of our equals and peers, they will 
ask at once if thou hast trade or merchandise or land or garden, to 
live on. And what can I answer them ? And if I cannot answer the 
poor people, our likes, how shall I venture upon this hazard and 
dare this impertinence, O my son, and by what means shall I ask for 
thee of the Sultan his daughter, and howsoever shall I compass access 
to the Sultan's presence? And if they question me, what shall I 
answer? And probably they will take me for a mad woman. And 
supposing I gain access to the presence, what shall I take him as 
an offering to his Majesty?" 

And she went on: "O my child, the Sultan indeed is clement, 
and never rejecteth him who approacheth him to ask of him equity 
or mercy or protection. Ask him for a gift, for he is generous, and 
granteth grace far and near. But he granteth his favour to those 
who deserve it, either having done something before him in battle 
or otherwise served their country. Then as for thee, tell me what 
hast thou done before the Sultan's eyes or publicly, that thou shouldst 
merit this grace ? And again, this grace which thou askest becometh 
not our rank, and it is not possible that the King should give thee 
the favour which thou wouldst ask. And whoso approacheth the 
Sultan to ask favours, it behooveth him to take with him something 
befitting his majesty, as I said to thee; and how canst thou possibly 
present thyself before the Sultan, and stand before him and ask his 
daughter of him when thou hast nothing with thee to offer him suit- 
able to his rank?" And 'Ala-ed-Din repHed: "O my mother, thou 
speakest aright and thinkest well, and it behooveth me to consider all 
that thou hast brought to mind. But, my mother, the love of the 
Sultan's daughter, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, hath penetrated into the 
core of my heart, and peace is impossible to me unless I win her. 
But thou hast reminded me of something I had forgotten, and this 
very thing doth embolden me to ask of him his daughter. Thou 
sayest, O my mother, that I have no offering to make to the Sultan, 
as is the custom of the folk, yet as a fact I have a gift to present the 
equal of which I think doth not exist among the Kings anywhere, 
nor anything approaching it; for verily what I thought to be glass 
or crystal is nothing but precious stones; and I believe that all the 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 369 

Kings of the world have never owned aught to equal the least of 
them. For by visiting the jewellers I learned that these are the cost- 
liest jewels which I brought in my pockets from the Treasury. 
Therefore be tranquil. In the house is a china bowl; arise, therefore, 
and fetch it, that I may fill it with these jewels, and we will see how 
they look in it." And his mother arose and went for the china bowl, 
and said within herself: "Let me see if the words of my son concern- 
ing these jewels be true or not." And she set the bowl before 'Ala- 
ed-Din, and he drew from his pockets the bags of jewels, and began 
to arrange them in the bowl, and ceased not to set them in order 
until it was full; and when it was quite full his mother looked 
into it, and could not see into it without blinking, for her eyes were 
dazzled by the sheen of the jewels and their radiance and the excess 
of their flashing. And her reason was confounded, though she was 
not certain whether or not their value was so vastly great; but she 
considered that her son's speech might possibly be true — that their 
equals could not be found among the King's. Then 'Ala-ed-Din 
turned to her and said: "Thou hast seen, O my mother, that this 
gift for the Sultan is splendid, and I am convinced that it will pro- 
cure thee great favour from him, and he will receive thee with all 
honour. So now, O my mother, thou hast no excuse; collect, there- 
fore, thy faculties and arise; take this bowl and go with it to the 
palace." And his mother replied: "O my son, certainly the present 
is exceeding precious, and none, as thou sayest, possesseth its equal. 
But who would dare to approach and ask of the Sultan his daughter, 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur? As for me, I dare not to say to him, 'I 
want thy daughter' when he asketh me 'What is thy want?' But I 
know, O my son, that my tongue will be tied. And suppose that, 
by God's help, I pluck up my courage and say to him: 'It is my de- 
sire to become related to thee by thy daughter, the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur and my son *Ala-ed-Din,' they will conclude forthwith that 
I am possessed, and will cast me forth in shame and disgrace, till I 
tell thee not only that I shall run in danger of death, but thou wilt 
likewise. Yet, in spite of all this, O my son, in deference to thy 
wish, I needs must pluck up heart and go. But if the King welcome 
me and honour me on account of the gift, and I should ask of him 
what thou wishest, how shall I reply when he asketh me, as is usual. 


What is thy condition and thy income? Haply, O my son, he will 
ask me this before he asketh me who thou art." And 'Ala-ed-Din 
answered: "It is impossible that the Sultan should thus question thee 
after looking at the precious stones and their splendor; nor doth it 
boot to consider things which may not happen. Do thou only arise 
and ask him for his daughter for me, and offer him the jewels, and 
do not sit there inventing obstacles. Hast thou not already learned, 
O my mother, that this Lamp of mine is now a firm maintenance for 
us, and that all I demand of it is brought to me? And this is my 
hope, that by its means I shall know how to make answer to the 
Sultan if he ask me thus." 

And 'Ala-ed-Din and his mother kept talking over the matter 
all that night. And when morning dawned his mother arose and 
plucked up courage, the more as her son had explained to her some- 
what of the properties of the Lamp and its virtues — that it would 
supply them with all they wanted. *Ala-ed-Din, however, when he 
saw that his mother had plucked up courage on his explaining to 
her the effects of the Lamp, feared lest she should gossip about it to 
the people, and said to her: "O my mother, take heed how thou 
tellest any one about the Lamp and its virtues, for this is our own 
benefit. Restrain thy thought, lest thou babble to any one about it, 
for fear we lose it and lose the benefit which we possess from it." 
And his mother answered, "Fear not for that, O my son." And she 
arose and took the bowl of precious stones and passed forth early, 
that she might reach the audience before it was crowded. And she 
covered the bowl with a kerchief, and went to the palace, and when 
she arrived the audience was not full; and she saw the ministers and 
sundry of the magnates of the state entering to the presence of the 
Sultan. And presently the levee was completed by the wezirs and 
lords of the state and grandees and princes and nobles. Then the 
Sultan appeared, and the ministers bowed down before him, and in 
like manner the rest of the grandees and nobles. And the Sultan 
seated himself on the divan on the kingly throne, and all who at- 
tended the levee stood before him with crossed arms awaiting his 
command to be seated. And he ordered them to sit, and every one 
of them sat down in his order. Then the petitioners presented them- 
selves before the Sultan, and he decided everything, as usual, until 


the audience was over; when the King arose and went in to the 
palace, and every soul departed his own way. And when 'Ala-ed- 
Din's mother saw the Sultan had risen from his throne and gone 
into the Harim, she too took her departure and went her way to 
her house. And when 'Ala-ed-Din perceived her, and saw the bowl 
in her hand, he thought that probably some accident had befallen 
her, but he did not wish to question her until she was come in and 
had set down the bowl. Then she related to him what had happened, 
and ended by saying: "Praise be to God, my son, that boldness came 
to me, and I found a place in the levee this day, although it did not 
fall to my lot to address the Sultan. Probably, if it please God Most 
High, to-morrow I will speak to him. Indeed, to-day many of the 
people could not address the Sultan, like me. But to-morrow, my 
son, be of good cheer, since I must speak to him for the sake of thy 
desire, and how shall what happened happen again?" And when 
*Ala-ed-Din heard his parent's words he rejoiced with exceeding 
joy; and though he expected the affair from hour to hour, from the 
violence of his love and yearning for the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, for 
all that he practised patience. So they slept that night, and in the 
morning his mother arose and went with the bowl to the audience 
of the Sultan; but she found it closed. So she asked the bystanders, 
and they told her that the Sultan did not hold an audience con- 
tinually, but only thrice a week. 

So she resolved to return home that day. And every day she went, 
and when she saw the audience begin she would stand before the 
Sultan till it was over, and then she would return; and next day 
she would go to see if the court were closed; and in this manner 
she went for a whole month. Now the Sultan had perceived her at 
every levee, and when she came on the last day and stood before 
the presence, as was her wont, until it was over, without having 
courage to come forward or address him a word, and the Sultan had 
risen and gone to his Harim, and his Grand Wezir with him, the 
Sultan turned to him and said: "O Wezir, six or seven days at each 
audience have I seen that old woman presenting herself here; and 
I see she always carries something under her cloak. Tell me, O 
Wezir, knowest thou aught of her and her business?" And the 
Wezir answered: "O our lord the Sultan, verily women are want- 


ing in sense; probably this woman hath come to complain to thee of 
her husband or one o£ her people." But the Sultan was not satisfied 
with the Wezir's reply, but commanded him, i£ the woman came 
again to the levee, to bring her before him. So the Wezir put his 
hand on his head and said : "I hear and obey, O our lord the Sultan." 

Now the mother of 'Ala-ed-Din was wont to set forth every day 
to the audience and stand in the presence before the Sultan, although 
she was sad and very weary; yet for the sake of her son's desire she 
made light of her trouble. And one day she came to the levee, as 
usual, and stood before the Sultan, who when he saw her ordered 
his Wezir, saying: "This is the woman I spake of to thee yesterday; 
bring her instantly before me that I may inquire into her suit and 
decide her business." And straightway the Wezir arose and brought 
'Ala-ed-Din's mother to the Sultan. And when she found herself 
in the presence, she performed the obeisance and invoked glory upon 
him, and long life and perpetual prosperity; and she kissed the 
ground before him. And the Sultan said to her: "O woman, for 
some days have I seen thee at the levee, and thou hast not addressed 
a word to me; tell me if thou hast a want, that I may grant it." So 
she kissed the ground again and invoked blessings upon him, and 
said: "Yea, by the Hfe of thy head, O King of the Age, verily have 
I a suit. But, first of all grant me immunity, if I can present my suit 
to the hearing of our lord the Sultan, for perhaps thy Felicity may 
find my petition strange." So the Sultan, wishing to know what 
was her petition, and being endowed with much mildness, promised 
her immunity, and at once ordered all who were there to depart, 
and remained alone, he and the Wezir. 

Then the Sultan, turning to her, said: "Explain thy suit, and the 
protection of God Most High be on thee." But she answered: "O 
King of the Age, I shall need thy pardon also." And he replied, 
"God pardon thee." Then she said: "O our lord the Sultan, verily 
I have a son whose name is *Ala-ed-Din. One day of the days he 
heard the herald proclaiming that none should open his shop or 
appear in the streets of the city, because the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, 
the daughter of our lord the Sultan, was going to the bath. And 
when my son heard that, he longed to see her, and hid himself in a 
place where he would be able to look upon her closely, and that was 


behind the gate of the Hammam. So when she drew near, he 
looked upon her and gazed full upon her as much as he liked; and 
from the moment he saw her, O King of the Age, to this instant, 
life hath been intolerable to him; and he hath desired me to ask her 
of thy Felicity that he may wed her. I have not been able to banish 
this fancy from his mind, for the love of her hath taken possession 
of his heart, so that he told me: 'Be assured, O my mother, that if I 
do not obtain my desire, without doubt I shall die.' So I trust for 
clemency and pardon from thy Felicity for this hardihood of mine 
and my son's, and punish us not for it." 

When the King had heard her story, looking kindly at her, he 
fell a-laughing, and asked her: "What is it thou hast with thee, and 
what is this bundle?" Then the mother of 'Ala-ed-Din, perceiving 
that the Sultan was not wroth at her speech, but rather laughing, 
forthwith opened the cloth and set before him the bowl of jewels. 
And when the Sultan saw the stones, after the cloth was taken o£F, 
and how the hall was lighted up, as it were, by chandeliers and 
lustres, he was dazed and amazed at their sparkling, and wondered 
at their size and splendour and beauty, saying: — "To this day have 
I never seen the like of these jewels for beauty and size and loveli- 
ness, nor do I believe that there is in my treasury a single one equal 
to them." Then turning to his Wezir, he said: "What sayest thou, 
O Wezir, hast thou seen, thou in thy time, the like of these splendid 

And the Wezir answered: "Never have I seen such, O our lord 
the Sultan, and I do not think that the smallest of them is to be found 
in the treasuries of my lord the King." And the King said to him: 
"Verily he who hath presented me with these jewels is worthy to be 
the bridegroom of my daughter Bedr-el-Budur, for, methinks, as far 
as I can see, none is worthier of her than he." When the Wezir 
heard this speech of the Sultan, his tongue became tied with vexa- 
tion, and he grieved with sore grieving, because the King had prom- 
ised to marry the Princess to his son. So after a little he said to 
him: "O King of the Age, thy Felicity was graciously pleased to 
promise the Lady Bedr-el-Budur to my son : it is therefore incumbent 
on thy Highness to graciously allow three months, when, please 
God, there shall be a present from my son more splendid even than 


this." So the King, though he knew that this thing could not be 
accompHshed either by the Wezir or by any of the grandees, yet of 
his kindness and generosity granted a delay of three months, as he 
had asked. And turning to the old woman, *Ala-ed-Din's mother, 
he said: "Go back to thy son, and tell him I have given my royal 
word that my daughter shall bear his name, but it is necessary to 
prepare her wardrobe and requisites, and so he will have to wait 
three months." 

*Ala-ed-Din's mother accepted this answer, and thanked the Sultan 
and blessed him, and hastened forth, and almost flew with delight 
till she came home and entered. And 'Ala-ed-Din her son saw how 
her face was smiling; so he was cheered by the hope of good news; 
moreover, she had come back without loitering as heretofore, and 
had returned without the bowl. So he asked her, saying: "If it please 
God, my mother, thou bringest me good news, and perhaps the 
jewels and their rarity have had their effect, and the Sultan hath 
welcomed thee and been gracious to thee and hearkened to thy 
request?" And she related it all to him — how the Sultan had re- 
ceived her and marvelled at the multitude of the jewels and their 
size; and the Wezir also; and how he had promised that "his 
daughter shall bear thy name; only, O my son, the Wezir spake to 
him a private word before he promised me, and after the Wezir had 
spoken he covenanted for a delay of three months; and I am afraid 
the Wezir will be hostile to thee and try to change the mind of the 

When *Ala-ed-Din heard the words of his mother and how the 
Sultan had promised him after three months, his soul was relieved 
and he rejoiced exceedingly, and said: "Since the Sultan hath prom- 
ised for three months, though it is indeed a long time, on all accounts 
my joy is immense." Then he thanked his parent and magnified 
her success above her toil, and said: "By Allah, O my mother, just 
now I was, as it were, in the grave, and thou hast pulled me out; 
and I praise God Most High that I am now sure that there liveth 
none richer or happier than I." Then he waited in patience till two 
months of the three were gone. 

One day of the days the mother of *Ala-ed-Din went forth about 
sunset to the market to buy oil and beheld all the bazars closed, and 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 375 

the whole city deserted, and the people were putting candles and 
flowers in their windows; and she saw troops and guards and caval- 
cades of aghas, and lamps and lustres flaming. And wonder gat 
hold of her at this marvel and gala, and she went to an oilman's 
shop which was still open, and having bought the oil, said to the 
dealer: "O Uncle, inform me what is the occasion to-day in the 
city, that the people make such adornment, and the markets and 
houses are all closed and the troops paraded?" And the oilman 
answered: "O woman, I suppose thou art a stranger, not of this 
city." But she said, "Nay, I am of this city." So he cried: "Art thou 
of this city, and hast not heard that the son of the chief Wezir this 
night is to unite himself to the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of 
the Sultan, and he is now at the bath; and these officers and soldiers 
are drawn up waiting to see him come forth from the bath and ac- 
company him to the palace into the presence of the daughter of the 

When the mother of 'Ala-ed-Din heard his words she was sad 
and perplexed in her mind how she should contrive to break this 
dismal news to her son, for her unhappy boy was counting hour by 
hour till the three months should be over. So she returned home 
after a little, and when she had come and entered to her son she 
said: "O my son, I would fain tell thee certain tidings, though thy 
grief thereat will cost me dear." And he answered, "Tell me, what 
is this news." And she said: "Verily the Sultan hath violated his 
covenant to thee in the matter of his daughter the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur, and this night the Wezir's son goeth in to her. And O my 
child, I have long suspected that the Wezir would change the 
Sultan's mind, as I told thee how he spake privily to him before me." 
Then *Ala-ed-Din asked her: "How knowest thou that the Wezir's 
son is going in this night to the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter 
of the Sultan?" So she told him about all the decorations she had 
noticed in the town when she went to buy oil, and how the aghas 
and grandees of the state were drawn up waiting for the Wezir's 
son to come forth from the bath, and how this was his nuptial night. 
When he learnt this, *Ala-ed-Din was seized with a fever of grief, 
till after a while he bethought him of the Lamp. Then he cheered 
up, and said: "By thy life, O my mother, suppose the Wezir's son 


should not enjoy her, as thou thinkest. But now let us cease this 
talk, and arise; bring our supper, that we may eat, and after I have 
retired awhile within my chamber all will be well." 

So after supper *Ala-ed-Din withdrew to his chamber and fastened 
the door and took out the Lamp and rubbed it, and immediately 
the Slave came and said: "Ask what thou wilt, for I am thy slave, 
the slave of him who hath the Lamp, I and all the servants of the 
Lamp." And 'Ala-ed-Din said: "Listen. I asked the Sultan that I 
might marry his daughter, and he promised me, in three months; but 
he hath not kept his word, but hath given her to the son of the 
Wezir, and this very night it is his intention to go in to her. But I 
command thee, if thou be a true servant of the Lamp, that when 
thou seest the bride and bridegroom together this night thou bring 
them in the bed to this place. This is what I require of thee." And 
the Marid answered: "I hear and obey; and if thou hast any other 
behest, besides this, command me in all thou desirest." But 'Ala- 
ed-Din said : "I have no other command save that which I have told 
thee." So the Slave vanished, and 'Ala-ed-Din returned to finish 
the evening with his mother. But when the time came when he 
expected the Slave's return, he arose and entered his chamber, and 
soon after beheld the Slave with the bridal pair on their bed. And 
when 'Ala-ed-Din saw them he rejoiced with great joy. Then said 
he to the Slave: "Take away yonder gallows-bird and lay him in a 
closet." And immediately the Slave bore the Wezir's son and 
stretched him in a closet, and before leaving him he blew a cold 
blast on him, and the state of the Wezir's son became miserable. 
Then the Slave returned to 'Ala-ed-Din and said: "If thou needest 
aught else, tell me." And 'Ala-ed-Din answered, "Return in the 
morning to restore them to their place." So he said, "I hear and 
obey," and vanished. 

Then 'Ala-ed-Din arose, and could hardly believe that this affair 
had prospered with him. But when he looked at the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur in his own house, although he had long been consumed with 
love of her, yet he maintained an honourable respect towards her, 
and said : "O Lady of Loveliness, think not that I brought thee here 
to harm thine honour; nay, but only that none other should be 
privileged to enjoy thee, since thy father the Sultan gave me his 


word that I should have thee. So rest in peace." But when Bedr-el- 
Budur found herself in this poor and dark house, and heard the 
words of 'Ala-ed-Din, fear and shuddering took hold of her, and she 
was dazed, and could not make him any reply. Then 'Ala-ed-Din 
arose and stripped off his robe, and laying a sword between himself 
and her, slept beside her in the bed, without doing her wrong, for 
he wished only to prevent the nuptials of the Wezir's son with her. 
But the Lady Bedr-el-Budur passed the worst of nights; she had not 
passed a worse in all her life; and the Wezir's son, who slept in the 
closet, dared not move from his fear of the Slave which possessed 

When it was morning, without any rubbing of the Lamp, the 
Slave appeared to 'Ala-ed-Din, and said: "O my master, if thou 
desirest anything, command me, that I may perform it on the head 
and the eye." So 'Ala-ed-Din said: "Go bear the bride and bridegroom 
to their place." And in the twinkling of an eye the Slave did as 
'Ala-ed-Din bade him, and took the Wezir's son and the Lady Bedr- 
el-Budur and carried them and restored them to their place in the 
palace, as they had been, without seeing any one, though they almost 
died of fear when they found themselves being carried from place 
to place. Hardly had the Slave put them back again and departed, 
when the Sultan came to visit his daughter. And when the Wezir's 
son heard the door open, he forthwith leaped from the bed, for he 
knew that none but the Sultan could come in at that time; but it 
was exceedingly disagreeable to him, for he wished to warm himself 
a little, since he had not long left the [cold] closet; however, he 
arose and put on his clothes. 

The Sultan came in unto his daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, 
and kissed her between the eyes and wished her good-morning, and 
asked her concerning her bridegroom, and whether she was con- 
tent with him. But she made him never an answer, but looked at 
him with an eye of anger; and he asked her again, and she remained 
silent and said not a word to him. So the Sultan went his way and 
departed from her house, and went to the Queen, and told her what 
had befallen him with the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. Then the Queen, loth 
to have him vexed with the Princess, said to him: "O King of the 
Age, this is the way with most brides in their honeymoon; they are 


shy, and a trifle whimsical. So chide her not, and soon she will return 
to herself and converse with people; for now it is her modesty, O 
King of the Age, that preventeth her speaking. However, it is my 
intention to go and visit her." 

So the Queen arose and put on her robes and went to her daughter 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and approached her and gave her good- 
day, and kissed her betwixt the eyes. And the Princess answered her 
never a word. So the Queen said to herself: "Some strange thing 
must have happened to her to disquiet her thus." So she asked her : 
"O my daughter, what is the cause of the state thou art in ? Tell me 
what hath come to thee, that when I visit thee and bid thee good-day, 
thou answerest me not." Then Bedr-el-Budur turned her head and 
said to her: "Chide me not, O my mother; it was indeed my duty 
to meet thee with all regard and reverence, since thou hast honoured 
me by this visit. However, I beg thee to hear the reason of this my 
behaviour, and see how this night which I have passed hath been 
the worst of nights for me. Hardly had we gone to bed, O mother, 
when one whose shape I know not lifted up the bed and bore us to 
a dark, loathly, vile place." And she related to her mother the Queen 
all that had happened to her that night, and how they had taken 
away her bridegroom and she had been left alone, till presently an- 
other youth came and slept, instead of her husband, and placed a 
sword betwixt them. "And in the morning he who took us returned 
to carry us back, and came with us to this our abode. Hardly had 
he restored us to it and left us, when my father the Sultan entered 
at the very hour of our return, and I had not heart or tongue to 
speak to him from the greatness of the fear and trembling which 
had come over me. And perhaps it may have vexed my father; so I 
pray thee, O my mother, tell him the reason for my condition, that 
he may not blame me for my lack of reply to him, but instead of 
censure, excuse me." 

When the Queen heard the words of her daughter the Lady Bedr- 
el-Budur, she said to her: "O my child, calm thyself. If thou wert 
to tell this story to any one, it might be said that the daughter of the 
Sultan had lost her wits, and thou hast well done in not telling thy 
father this tale; and beware, my daughter, beware of telling him 
thereof." But the Princess answered her: "Mother, I have spoken to 


thee sensibly, and I have not lost my wits, but this is what hath hap- 
pened to me; and if thou dost not beHeve it when I say it, ask my 
bridegroom." Then the Queen said to her : "Arise, now, my daughter, 
and away with such fancies from thy mind; put on thy robes and 
view the bridal fete which is going on in the city in thy honour and 
the rejoicings that are taking place all over the realm for thy mar- 
riage; and listen to the drums and songs, and look at these decora- 
tions, all done for the sake of pleasing thee, my daughter." There- 
upon the Queen summoned the tirewomen, and they robed the Lady 
Bedr-el-Budur and straightened her up. And the Queen arose and 
went to the Sultan and told him that the Princess had been troubled 
that night with dreams and nightmare, and added: "Chide her not 
for her lack of answer to thee." Then she summoned the Wezir's 
son secretly, and asked him concerning the matter, and whether the 
story of the Princess were true or not; but he, in his fear of losing 
his bride from out his hand, answered: "O my sovereign lady, I 
know nothing of what thou sayest." So the Queen was sure that 
her daughter had been distraught by nightmare and dreams. The 
festivities lasted all day, with 'Almehs and singers and the beating 
of all sorts of instruments, and the Queen and the Wezir and the 
Wezir's son did their utmost to keep up the rejoicing, so that the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur might be happy and forget her trouble; and all 
day they left nothing that incited to enjoyment undone before her, 
that she might forget what was in her mind and be content. But all 
this had no influence upon her; she remained silent and sad and be- 
wildered at what had befallen her that night. Worse indeed had 
happened to the Wezir's son than to her, since he passed the night 
in a closet; but he had denied the fact and banished this calamity 
from his mind, because of his fear of losing his bride and his dis- 
tinction, especially as all men envied him the connection and the 
exceeding honour thereof; and, moreover, because of the splendour 
of the bride's loveliness and her excessive beauty. 

'Ala-ed-Din too went out that day to see the festivities which were 
going on in the city and the palace, and he began to laugh, above 
all when he heard people talking of the honour which had fallen to 
the Wezir's son and his good-fortune in becoming the son-in-law of 
the Sultan, and the great distinction shewn in his rejoicings and 


wedding festivities. And 'Ala-ed-Din said to himself: "Ye know 
not, ye rabble, what happened to him last night, that ye envy him!" 
And when night fell and it was bedtime, 'Ala-ed-Din arose and went 
to his chamber and rubbed the Lamp, and immediately the Slave 
presented himself. And he ordered him to bring the Sultan's 
daughter and her bridegroom as on the past night, before the Wezir's 
son had taken her to him. And the Slave waited not an instant, but 
vanished awhile, till he reappeared, bringing the bed in which was 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and the son of the Wezir. And he did with 
the latter as on the preceding night, — took and put him to sleep in 
a closet, and there left him bleached with excessive trembHng and 
fear. And 'Ala-ed-Din arose and placed the sword betwixt himself 
and the Princess, and went to sleep. And when it was morning the 
Slave appeared and restored the pair to their own place; and *Ala-ed- 
Din was filled with delight at the misadventure of the Wezir's son. 
Now when the Sultan arose in the morning he desired to go to 
his daughter, Bedr-el-Budur, to see whether she would behave to him 
as on the preceding day. So, after he had shaken off his drowsiness, 
he arose and dressed himself and went to his daughter's palace and 
opened the door. Then the Wezir's son hastily got up and rose 
from the bed and began to put on his clothes, though his ribs almost 
split with cold; for when the Sultan came in the Slave had only 
just brought them back. So the Sultan entered, and approached his 
daughter Bedr-el-Budur, who was in bed; and drawing aside the 
curtain, he wished her good-morning, and kissed her betwixt the 
eyes, and inquired after her state. But he saw she was sad, and she 
answered him never a word, but looked at him angrily; and her 
state was wretched. Then the Sultan was wroth with her, since she 
replied not, and he fancied that something was wrong with her. So 
he drew his sword and said to her: "What hath come to thee? Tell 
me what hath happened to thee, or I will take thy life this very 
hour. Is this the honour and reverence thou shewest me, that I 
speak and thou repliest not a word?" And when the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur saw how angry her father the Sultan was, and that his sword 
was drawn in his hand, she was released from her stupor of fear, 
and turned her head and said to him: "O my honoured father, be 
not wroth with me, nor be hasty in thy passion, for I am excusable^ 


as thou shalt see. Listen to what hath befallen me, and I am per- 
suaded that when thou hast heard my account of what happened 
to me these two nights, thou wilt excuse me, and thy Felicity will 
become pitiful toward me, even as I claim thy love." Then the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur related to her father the Sultan all that had 
happened to her, adding : "O my father, if thou dost not believe me, 
ask the bridegroom, and he will tell thy Felicity the whole matter; 
though I knew not what they did with him when they took him 
away from me, nor did I imagine where they had put him." 

When the Sultan heard the speech of his daughter, grief took 
hold of him and his eyes ran over with tears. And he sheathed the 
sword, and came' and kissed her, saying: "O my daughter, why 
didst thou not tell me last night, that I might have averted this 
torment and fear which have fallen upon thee this night? How- 
ever, it signifieth nothing. Arise and drive away from thee this 
fancy, and next night I will set a watch to guard thee, and no such 
unhappiness shall again make thee sad." And the Sultan returned 
to his palace, and straightway ordered the presence of the Wezir. 
And when he came and stood before him, he asked him : "O Wezir, 
what thinkest thou of this affair ? Perchance thy son hath informed 
thee of what occurred to him and my daughter?" But the Wezir 
made answer : "O King of the Age, I have not seen my son, neither 
yesterday nor to-day." Then the Sultan told him all that his daughter 
the Princess Bedr-el-Budur had related, adding: "It is my desire now 
that thou find out from thy son the truth of the matter; for it may be 
that my daughter, from terror, did not understand what befell her, 
though I believe her story to be all true." 

So the Wezir arose and sent for his son and asked him concerning 
all that the Sultan had told him, whether it were true or not. And 
the youth replied: "O my father the Wezir, God forbid that the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur should tell lies! Nay, all she said is true, and 
these two nights that have passed were the worst of nights, instead 
of being nights of pleasure and joy to us both. But what befell me 
was the greater evil, for, instead of sleeping with my bride in the 
bed, I was put to sleep in a closet, a cursed, dark, and loathsome 
place smelling horribly, and my ribs almost spHt with the cold." 
And the young man told his father all that had happened to him. 


and added. "O honoured parent, I entreat thee, speak to the Sultan 
that he release me from this marriage. Truly it is a great honour 
to me to be the son-in-law of the Sultan, and most of all since the 
love of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur hath taken possession of my being; 
but I have not strength to endure another night Uke the tw^o which 
are over." 

When the Wezir heard his son's words he was exceeding sad and 
sorry, for he hoped to exalt and magnify his son by making him 
son-in-law to the Sultan; therefore he considered and pondered over 
this case, how to remedy it. It was a great hardship to him to break 
ofif the marriage, for he had been much congratulated on his success 
in so high a matter. So he said to his son : "Take patience, my child, 
till we see what may betide this night, when we set warders to 
watch over you; and do not reject this great honour, which hath been 
granted to none save thee alone." 

Then the Wezir left him and returned to the Sultan and told him 
that what the Lady Bedr-el-Budur had said was true. Therefore 
the Sultan said: "If it be so, we must not delay." And he straight- 
way ordered the rejoicings to cease and the marriage to be annulled. 
And the people and folk of the city wondered at this strange affair, 
and the more so when they saw the Wezir and his son coming 
forth from the palace in a state of grief and excess of rage; and men 
began asking what had happened and what the cause might be for 
annulling the marriage and terminating the espousals. And none 
knew how it was save 'Ala-ed-Din, the lord of the invocation, who 
laughed in secret. So the marriage was dissolved, and still the Sultan 
forgot and recalled not the promise he had made to the mother of 
'Ala-ed-Din, nor the Wezir either, and they knew not whence came 
that which had come. 

'Ala-ed-Din waited in patience until the three months were over, 
after which the Sultan had covenanted to wed him to his daughter, 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. Then he instantly despatched his mother 
to the Sultan to demand of him the fulfilment of his promise. So 
the mother of 'Ala-ed-Din went to the palace; and when the Sultan 
came to the hall of audience and saw her standing before him, he 
remembered his promise — that after three months he would marry 
his daughter to her son. And turning to the Wezir, he said: "O 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 383 

Wezir, this is the woman who gave us the jewels, and to whom we 
did pledge our word for three months. Bring her to me before any- 
thing else." So the Wezir went and brought 'Ala-ed-Din's mother 
before the Sultan; and when she came up to him she saluted him 
and prayed for his glory and lasting prosperity. Then the Sultan 
asked her if she had any suit. Whereto she answered: "O King of 
the Age, verily the three months are over, for which thou didst 
covenant with me, after which to marry my son 'Ala-ed-Din to thy 
daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur." 

The King was perplexed at this demand, the more when he 
observed her poor condition and that she was of the meanest of the 
people. Yet the present she had given him was exceedingly splendid, 
beyond his power to purchase. Then turning to the Wezir, he said : 
"What stratagem hast thou? Of a truth I pledged my word; yet it 
is evident to me that they are poor people, and not of high degree." 
And the Wezir, since envy was devouring him, and he was beyond 
everything grieved at what had befallen his son, said within himself: 
"How shall one like this wed the daughter of the Sultan and my son 
lose this honour?" So he answered the Sultan: "O my lord, it is an 
easy thing to be rid of this stranger, for it is not fit that thy Felicity 
should give thy daughter to a man like this, — one knoweth not who 
he is." The Sultan replied: "In what way shall we ward off this man 
from us, when I have pledged my word, and the word of Kings 
is sacred?" The Wezir answered: "O my lord, my advice is that 
thou demand of him forty bowls of pure gold full of jewels, such 
as this woman brought thee that day, and forty maids to carry the 
bowls, and forty black slaves." And the Sultan said: "By Allah, O 
Wezir, thou hast said well, for he cannot compass this thing, and 
thus we shall be freed from him." Then he said to the mother of 
'Ala-ed-Din: "Go, tell thy son that I hold to the promise which I 
made to him, provided he be able to furnish my daughter's dowry, 
for which I require of him forty bowls of pure gold, each full of 
jewels, such as thou didst bring me, and forty maids to carry them, 
and forty black slaves to attend and escort them. If thy son can do 
this I will marry him to my daughter." 

So the mother of 'Ala-ed-Din returned to her house shaking her 
head and saying: "Whence shall my poor son procure these bowls 


of jewels? Suppose he return to the Treasury and gather these 
jewels and bowls from the trees, yet with all this, — and I do not 
think he can, but say that he acquire them, — whence will he get the 
maids and slaves?" And she ceased not to commune with herself 
until she arrived at her house, where *Ala-ed-Din was expecting her. 
And when she came in, she said: "O my son, did I not tell thee not 
to think that thou couldst attain to the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and 
that such a thing was not possible for people like us?" And he said 
to her: "Explain to me what tidings there be." And she said: "O 
my son, verily the Sultan received me with all honour, as is his wont, 
and it is evident to me that his intentions towards us are benevolent. 
But thy enemy is the accursed Wezir; for after I had spoken to the 
Sultan, according to thy tongue (as thou saidst, 'Verily the time is 
come for which thou didst covenant'), and after I had said to him, 
'Verily it behoves thy Felicity to order the wedding of thy daughter 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur to my son 'Ala-ed-Din,' he turned to the 
Wezir and spake to him; and he answered him secretly; and after- 
ward the Sultan gave me his answer." Then she told 'Ala-ed-Din 
what the Sultan required, and said to him: "O my son, verily he 
requireth of thee an immediate reply, and methinks we have no 
answer for him." 

When 'Ala-ed-Din heard the words of his mother, he laughed and 
said: "O my mother, thou sayest that we have no answer for him, 
and considerest the affair exceeding hard; but compose thy mind, 
and arise, bring me something to eat, and after we have eaten, if the 
Compassionate please, thou shalt see my answer. And the Sultan 
like thee, thinketh he hath required an enormous thing, in order to 
keep me from the Lady Bedr-el-Budur; though really he hath asked 
a smaller thing than I expected. But do thou arise, and fetch me 
somewhat to eat, and trust me to provide the answer for thee." So 
his mother arose and went forth to fetch what was needed from 
the market to prepare dinner. And 'Ala-ed-Din went into his cham- 
ber, and took the Lamp and rubbed it, and immediately there ap- 
peared to him the Slave, who said: "O my master, ask what thou 
desirest." And 'Ala-ed-Din answered: "I have demanded the 
daughter of the Sultan in marriage, and the Sultan hath required of 
me forty bowls of pure gold, each weighing ten pounds, and they 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 385 
must be full of the jewels which are in the garden of the Treasury; 
and to carry them there must be forty maids, and to each maid a 
slave, forty slaves in all. So I desire of thee that thou bring me all 
these." And the Jinni said: "I hear and obey, O my master," and 
vanished for the space of an hour, when he brought forty maids, 
and with each maid a eunuch, and on each maid's head a bowl of 
fine gold full of precious stones. And he set them before 'Ala-ed-Din, 
saying: "Here is thy wish: tell me then if thou hast need of any 
affair or service beside this." But 'Ala-ed-Din answered: "I need 
nothing else; but if I require! anything I will summon thee and 
inform thee thereof." So the Slave vanished. And presently 'Ala-ed- 
Din's mother appeared and entered the house, and perceived the 
slaves and maids. And she marvelled, saying: "All this is from the 
Lamp. God preserve it for my son!" And as she was about to raise 
her veil, *Ala-ed-Din said to her: "O my mother, this is the moment 
for thee, before the Sultan goes in to his seraglio, to his family. Take 
thou to him that which he demanded, and go to him forthwith, that 
he may know that I am able to do what he required, and more also. 
Verily he is deceived by the Wezir, and they both think to foil me." 
Thereupon 'Ala-ed-Din arose and opened the door of the house, and 
the maids and the slaves came forth side by side, each maid with a 
eunuch beside her, till they filled the street. And *Ala-ed-Din's 
mother went before them. And the people flocked to the street when 
they saw this mighty, wonderful sight, and stood diverting them- 
selves and marvelUng and observing the forms of the damsels and 
their beauty and loveliness; for they all wore dresses embroidered 
with gold and trimmed with jewels, none worth less than a thousand 
dinars. And the folks gazed upon the bowls, and saw that the lustre 
transcended the light of the sun. Over each was a piece of brocade 
embroidered with gold and studded with precious stones. And the 
people of the quarter stood wondering at this strange spectacle. But 
'Ala-ed-Din's mother walked on, and the damsels and slaves marched 
behind her, in all order and precision, and the people stopped to 
examine the beauty of the damsels, and glorified God the great 
Creator; and so they arrived and entered with 'Ala-ed-Din's mother, 
the palace of the Sultan. And when the aghas and chamberlains and 
officers of the army saw them, wonder gat hold of them and they 


were amazed at this sight, the like of which they had never wit- 
nessed in all their born days, above all, such damsels, every one o£ 
whom would turn the head o£ an anchorite. And although the 
chamberlain and officers o£ the Sultan's troops were all sons o£ 
grandees and nobles, yet they were astonished beyond measure at the 
costly dresses which the damsels wore, and the bowls upon their 
heads, which they could not gaze £ull upon by reason o£ their ex- 
cessive flashing and dazzle. 

Then the guard went in and informed the Sultan, and he at once 
ordered that they should be brought before him in the Hall of 
Audience. So *Ala-ed-Din's mother came in with them; and when 
they appeared before the Sultan, they all saluted him with due 
reverence and worship, and they invoked blessings on his glory and 
good-fortune. Then they took the bowls from their heads and set 
them before him, and removed their coverings, and then stood re- 
spectfully. The Sultan marvelled with great admiration, and was 
bewildered at the splendour of the jewels and their loveliness, which 
transcended praise; and his wits were turned when he looked at 
the golden bowls full of precious stones, which captivated the sight; 
and he was confounded at this marvel till he became as the dumb, 
and could not say a word from excess of wonder. And his mind was 
the more perplexed how all this could have come about in the space 
of an hour. Then he gave commandment that the damsels with the 
bowls should enter the palace of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur; so they 
took up their loads and went in. 

After that, the mother of *Ala-ed-Din came and said to the Sultan : 
"O my lord, this is not a great thing wherewith to do honour to the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur, for she merits the double of this [dower]." 
Then the Sultan turned to the Wezir and said: "What sayest thou, 
O Wezir? He who can procure such riches as these in so short a 
time, is he not worthy to be the Sultan's son-in-law and the daughter 
of the Sultan his bride?" But the Wezir, although he marvelled at 
the vastness of these riches, more even than the Sultan, yet, being 
devoured by envy, which grew stronger and stronger when he saw 
how content the Sultan was with the dower and riches, and though 
he could not disguise the truth, answered: "It is not worthy of her." 
And he was devising a plan for the Sultan, that he might not give 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 387 

his daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur to 'Ala-ed-Din, and accord- 
ingly he went on; "O my lord, all the treasures of the universe are 
not equal to the little finger of thy daughter. Thy Highness 
hath overvalued these presents as against her." When the Sultan 
heard these words of the Wezir, he perceived that they arose 
from excess of envy. So turning to *Ala-ed-Din's mother, he said: 
"O woman, go to thy son, and tell him that I have accepted the 
dowry and I stand by my promise. My daughter is his bride and he 
my son-in-law; and bid him come hither, in order that I may know 
him. He shall have naught but honour and esteem from me. And 
this night shall begin the wedding; only, as I said, let him come to 
me without delay." 

Then *Ala-ed-Din's mother returned home with the speed of the 
wind, and abated not the quickness of her pace, in order to con- 
gratulate her son. She flew with joy at thinking that her child was 
going to become the son-in-law of the Sultan. After she had gone, 
the Sultan dismissed the audience and entered the apartments of the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and bade them bring the damsels and the bowls 
before her that she might look at them. And when they brought 
them and the Princess examined the jewels, she was amazed and 
said: "Methinks there is not found in the treasuries of the universe 
a single gem like these!" Then she gazed upon the damsels and 
marvelled at their beauty and grace. And she knew that all this was 
from her new bridegroom, who had sent it in her service. So she 
rejoiced, though she had been sorrowful and sad on account of her 
bridegroom the son of the Wezir. Yet she rejoiced with great joy 
when she looked upon the jewels and the beauty of the damsels; and 
she made merry, and her father was greatly delighted at her cheer- 
fulness, because he saw that her sadness and grief had departed from 
her. Then he asked her, saying: "O my daughter. Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur, does this astonish thee? Methinks this bridegroom of thine 
is goodlier than the Wezir's son; and presently, please God, O my 
daughter, thou shalt enjoy supreme delight with him." Thus was it 
with the Sultan. 

As for *Ala-ed-Din, when his mother returned and entered the 
house, laughing in the excess of her joy, and he saw her so, he scented 
good news, and said: "To God be praise everlasting! My desire is now 


accomplished." And his mother said: "Good news for thee, O my 
child! Cheer thy heart, and refresh thine eye for the fulfilment of 
thy wish. The Sultan hath accepted thy present, the riches and 
portion and dowry of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur; and she is thy bride, 
and this night, O my son, is the wedding and thy union with the 
Princess. To assure me of his promise the Sultan hath proclaimed 
thee before the world as his son-in-law, and saith that to-night is the 
consummation. Moreover, he said to me : 'Let thy son come to me, 
that I may become acquainted with him and welcome him with all 
honour and regard.' And here am I, my son; my task is over; 
happen what may, it is now thy own affair." 

Then *Ala-ed-Din arose and kissed his mother's hand and thanked 
her, and magnified her goodness to him, and went and entered his 
chamber and took the Lamp and rubbed it, and behold, the Slave 
appeared, saying, "At thy service! Ask what thou desirest." So 
*Ala-ed-Din answered: "I desire thee to take me to a bath the equal 
of which existeth not in the universe; and bring me there a dress so 
royal and exceeding costly that Kings possess not its match." And 
the Marid repUed, "I hear and obey." And he lifted him and took 
him into a bath such as Kings and Emperors never saw, all of 
marble and carnelian, with wonderful pictures which captivated the 
eye; and not a soul was there. In it was a hall studded over with 
splendid jewels, which when 'Ala-ed-Din entered, there came to him 
one of the Jann in human shape, who washed and kneaded him to 
the top of his bent. After which *Ala-ed-Din went from the bath into 
the spacious hall, and found his old clothes gone and in their place 
a suit of royal robes. Then there was brought to him sherbet and 
coffee flavoured with ambergris. And he drank and arose, and a 
number of slaves appeared before him, and clad him in resplendent 
clothes, and he was dressed and perfumed and scented. Though 
*Ala-ed-Din was, in fact, a poor tailor's son, none would have sup- 
posed it, but rather would say: "This is the greatest of the sons of 
the Kings. Extolled be he who changeth others but himself changeth 
not!" Then the Jinni came and lifted him and returned him to his 
house, and said: "O my master, hast thou further need?" And *Ala- 
ed-Din replied : "Yes, I want thee to bring me forty-eight memluks, 
twenty-four to go before me and twenty-four to follow me, with their 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 389 

chargers and habiliments and arms; and everything on them and 
their horses must be o£ the very costUest, such as is not in the 
treasuries of Kings. Then bring me a stalHon fit for the Caesars, and 
let his housings be of gold studded over with magnificent jewels; 
and bring me forty-eight thousand dinars, to each memluk a 
thousand. For I wish to go to the Sultan's presence. So delay not, 
since without all these things of which I have told thee I cannot 
visit him. Bring me also twelve damsels; they must be of peerless 
beauty, and clad in the most sumptuous raiment, that they may 
accompany my mother to the palace of the Sultan. And let each 
damsel be attired like the King's ladies." And the Slave answered, 
"I hear and obey." And vanishing awhile, he brought him in the 
twinkling of an eye, all that he had commanded; and he led a steed 
the fellow of which did not exist among the horses of the Arabs, 
and his housings were of gorgeous cloth of gold. 

'Ala-ed-Din sent for his mother at once, and delivered to her the 
twelve maidens, and gave her robes that she might be robed, when 
the damsels would escort her to the palace of the Sultan. And he sent 
one of the memluks which the Jinni had brought him to the Sultan, 
to ascertain whether he had come forth from his harem or not. So 
the memluk went quicker than lightning, and returned to him 
speedily, saying: "O my master, the Sultan expecteth thee." Then 
'Ala-ed-Din arose and mounted and the memluks rode before him 
and behind him. And they were such as to make all men cry: 
"Extolled be the Lord who created them in such perfection of beauty 
and grace!" And they scattered gold among the people before their 
master 'Ala-ed-Din, who excelled them in beauty and comeliness, — 
and make no mention of the sons of Kings! Extolled be the Bounti- 
ful, the Eternal! And all this came by virtue of the Wonderful 
Lamp, which whoso possessed, it brought him beauty and loveliness 
and wealth and wisdom. And the people were astonished at the 
generosity of *Ala-ed-Din and his excessive bounty, and were dis- 
traught as they gazed upon his beauty and comeliness and grace and 
courtliness. And they extolled the Compassionate for this his noble 
creation; and all blessed him, though they knew he was the son of 
Such-an-one the tailor; and none was envious of him, but all pro- 
nounced him worthy of his luck. 


Thus was the crowd dazzled by 'Ala-ed-Din and his bounty and 
generosity, as he was going to the palace, scattering gold. And they 
blessed him, great and small, till he reached the palace, with the 
memluks before and behind him distributing largesse to the people. 
Now the Sultan had assembled the grandees of the state, and in- 
formed them that he had given his word for the marriage of his 
daughter to *Ala-ed-Din. And he bade them await his coming, and 
then go forth, one and all, and receive him. And he sent for the 
emirs and the wezirs and chamberlains and gentlemen of the guard 
and officers of the army, and they were all in waiting for 'Ala-ed-Din 
at the gate of the palace. Now when *Ala-ed-Din arrived he would 
have dismounted at the gate, but one of the emirs whom the Sultan 
had appointed for the office approached and said : "O my master, the 
order is that thou enter and remain mounted on thy charger till thou 
comest to the gate of the Hall of Audience." And they all marched 
before him and escorted him to the gate of the Divan, when some 
of them approached and held his stirrup, and others supported 
him on each side or took him by the hand, and the emirs and officers 
of state went before him and led him into the Hall of Audience 
close to the royal throne. Then the Sultan descended at once from 
his throne, and clasped him to his breast, and forbidding him to 
kiss the ground, kissed him and seated him beside him on his right. 
And 'Ala-ed-Din did as was proper towards Kings, in giving saluta- 
tions and benedictions, saying: "O our lord the Sultan, verily the 
generosity of thy Felicity caused thee to vouchsafe me the Lady 
Bedr-el-Budur thy daughter, although I am not worthy of so great 
an honour, since I am of the meanest of thy slaves. And I beg God 
to prolong thy life perpetually. But in truth, O King, my tongue is 
powerless to thank thee for the greatness of the surpassing favours 
with which thou hast overwhelmed me. And I beg of thy Felicity 
that thou give me a piece of land where I may build a palace suitable 
for the Lady Bedr-el-Budur." And the Sultan was bewildered as he 
gazed upon 'Ala-ed-Din in his princely robes, and looked upon him 
and considered his beauty and comeliness, and saw the memluks 
arrayed for his service and their handsome apparel. And his wonder 
increased when 'Ala-ed-Din's mother approached in her costly attire, 
sumptuous as though she had been a Queen; and when he per- 



ceived the twelve damsels attending her standing before her in all 
respect and worship. Further, the Sultan considered the eloquence of 
'Ala-ed-Din, and the refinement of his language, and was astounded 
at it, he and all those who were with him at the levee. And fire was 
kindled in the heart of the Wezir for envy of 'Ala-ed-Din, till he 
almost died. Then the Sultan, after hearing *Ala-ed-Din's bene- 
dictions, and perceiving the loftiness of his bearing and his deference 
and eloquence, pressed him to his bosom and kissed him, saying: 
"Alas for me, my son, that I have not enjoyed thy company till 
this day!" 

When the Sultan saw *Ala-ed-Din in this respect he rejoiced with 
great joy, and immediately ordered the music and band to play. And 
he arose and took *Ala-ed-Din and led him into the palace, where 
supper was made ready and the servants had laid the tables. So the 
Sultan sat down and seated 'Ala-ed-Din on his right; and the wezirs 
also sat, and the grandees of the state and lords of the realm, all of 
them in their degree; and the band played, and they made very 
merry in the palace. And the Sultan waxed friendly with 'Ala-ed- 
Din and conversed with him, and he answered with all courtliness 
and eloquence, as though he had been brought up in the palaces of 
Kings and had been their familiar. And the longer the conversation 
lasted between them the greater became the Sultan's joy and satis- 
faction, as he listened to his graceful replies and the charm of his 

After they had eaten and drunk and removed the tables, the Sultan 
commanded to bring the Kadis and witnesses, and they came and 
tied the knot and wrote the contract of marriage between 'Ala-ed- 
Din and the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. After this 'Ala-ed-Din arose and 
would have gone out, but the Sultan stopped him, saying : "Whither, 
O my son ? The festivities are beginning and the wedding is ready, 
and the knot is tied and the contract written." But he answered: 
"O my lord the King, it is my intention to build a palace for the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur befitting her rank and station; and it is im- 
possible that I should enter in to her before this is done. But, please 
God, the building shall be finished in the briefest space by the energy 
of thy servant and the countenance of thy Felicity. And for me, 
much as I long for union now with the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, yet it 


behoveth me to serve her and to do so first." So the Sultan said to 
him: "O my son, choose the land which thou deemest fit for thy 
project; take it altogether into thy hands; but the best place would 
be here in front of my palace on the open plain; then if thou so 
fanciest build the palace there." "This," said *Ala-ed-Din, "is the 
height of my desire, to be near thy Felicity." 

Therefore *Ala-ed-Din took leave of the Sultan and went forth 
riding with his memluks before and behind him. And all the world 
blessed him and said, "By Allah, he is worthy!" till he reached his 
house. There he alighted from his horse and entered his chamber 
and rubbed the Lamp, and, behold, the Slave appeared before him 
and said : "Ask what thou wilt, O my master." So * Ala-ed-Din said : 
"I require thee to do me an important service, which is to build me 
with all speed a palace in front of the Sultan's Serai; and let it be 
marvellous in its construction, such as Kings have not seen, and 
perfect in its fittings of stately furniture fit for princes; and so forth." 
And the Slave replied, "I hear and obey," and vanished. But before 
the break of dawn he came to * Ala-ed-Din and said : "O my master, 
the palace is finished to the utmost of thy desire, and if thou wish to 
see it, arise at once and look at it." So 'Ala-ed-Din arose, and the Slave 
bore him in the twinkling of an eye to the palace. And when he 
saw it, he was astounded at its construction, for all its stones were 
of jasper and alabaster and porphyry and mosaics. Then the Slave 
took him into a treasury full of all sorts of gold and silver and 
precious stones, not to be numbered or estimated or appraised or 
valued. And again, he took him into another room, where he saw 
all the table equipments, plates and dishes, ewers and basins, of gold 
and silver, and likewise flagons and goblets; and he led him to the 
kitchen, where he saw the scullions with all their requisites and 
cooking utensils, all of gold and silver; and next to a chamber full 
of chests packed with royal raiment, such as captivated the reason, 
brocades from India and China, and embroideries. Again he led him 
to numerous rooms all full of what defieth description; and then to 
the stables, where he found horses the like of which were not found 
among the Kings in all the world; and from there he took him to 
the saddle-room, which was full of costly harness and saddles, 
studded with pearls and fine stones and the like. And all this was 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 393 

done in a single night. *Ala-ed-Din was astounded and distraught 
at the vastness of these riches, which the mightiest sovereign on 
earth could not compass. And the palace was full of servants and 
maidens whose loveliness would tempt a saint. But the most wonder- 
ful of all the things to be seen in the palace was a pavilion or kiosk 
with twenty-four bays, all of emeralds and diamonds and other 
jewels; and one bay was not finished by 'Ala-ed-Din's wish, in 
order that the Sultan might be unequal to completing it. 

When 'Ala-ed-Din had surveyed the palace in every part, he re- 
joiced and was greatly delighted. Then turning to the Slave, he 
said : "I desire one thing of thee, which is still lacking, and of which 
I forgot to tell thee." And the Slave said: "Ask on, O my master, 
whatsoever thou wishest." So he said: "I desire of thee a carpet of 
splendid brocade, and let it be all worked with gold, and such that 
when spread it shall reach from my palace to that of the Sultan, 
so that the Lady Bedr-el-Budur when she cometh hither may walk 
upon it and not tread upon the bare ground." So the Slave went 
away for a while, and on his return said: "O my master, what thou 
didst ask of me is done." And he took and shewed him a carpet 
which captivated the reason, and it stretched from palace to palace. 
Then the Slave carried 'Ala-ed-Din back to his house. 

At this moment it was already dawn, and the Sultan arose from 
sleep and opened the window of his chamber and looked out, and 
in front of his palace he perceived a building; so he began to rub 
his eyes, and opened them wide to observe it. And he saw a great 
palace, bewildering the wits; and he gazed upon the carpet laid 
down from his own palace to that other. And in like manner the 
doorkeepers and all the royal household were perplexed in their 
minds at this thing. Just then the Wezir came in, and as he came 
he perceived the new palace and the carpet, and he too marvelled. 
And when the Sultan entered, the two began talking of this strange 
spectacle, and wondering at the sight of this thing, which dazzled 
the sight and delighted the heart, saying: "Of a truth, the like of this 
palace could not, we imagine, be built by Kings." And the Sultan 
turned to the Wezir and said: "Dost thou see now that 'Ala-ed-Din 
is worthy to mate my daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, after seeing 
and considering this royal edifice and these riches which the mind 


of man could not conceive?" But the Wezir, on account of his envy 
of 'Ala-ed-Din, answered : "O King of the Age, verily this building 
and this edifice and these riches could not exist save by means of 
magic, for no man alive, be he the chiefest in authority or the 
greatest in wealth, could complete this edifice in a single night." 
Then answered the Sultan: "It is a wonder to me how thou art 
always imputing evil to *Ala-ed-Din; meseems, however, that it 
proceedeth from thy envy of him; for thou wast present thyself 
when I gave him this land, when he asked me for a site to build 
a palace on for my daughter, and I granted him this piece of land 
for his palace before thine eyes. But shall he who bringeth such a 
dowry of jewels for my daughter as Kings possess not even a few 
thereof, shall he be unequal to building a palace like this?" 

When the Wezir heard the Sultan's words, and perceived that he 
loved *Ala-ed-Din greatly, his jealousy increased; only, as he could 
not do anything to avert it, he watched and could not answer the 
Sultan a word. But as to 'Ala-ed-Din, when he saw that it was 
morning, and the time had come for him to go to the palace, because 
his wedding fete was going on, and the emirs and wezirs and 
grandees of state had collected about the Sultan in order to be 
present at the wedding, he arose and rubbed the Lamp and the 
Slave appeared to him and said: "O my master, ask what thou 
desirest, for I am here at thy service." So 'Ala-ed-Din answered : "I 
intend to go now to the Sultan's palace, as this is my wedding-day, 
and I need ten thousand dinars which I wish thee to bring me." 
Then the Slave vanished for the twinkling of an eye and returned 
with the ten thousand dinars. Then 'Ala-ed-Din arose and mounted, 
and there rode with him his memluks, before and behind. And 
he proceeded to the palace, scattering gold to the crowd as he went, 
so that they were filled with affection for him, and his dignity was 
enhanced thereby. And when he arrived at the palace, and the 
emirs and aghas and guards who were drawn up in waiting saw 
him, they hastened immediately to the Sultan and apprised him. 
Then the Sultan arose and met him and embraced and kissed him, 
and holding him by the hand led him into the palace and sat down 
and seated him at his side on the right; while the whole town was 
decorated, and the musical instruments resounded in the palace. 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 395 

and the singers sang. Then the Sultan commanded that the banquet 
should be served, and the eunuchs and memluks hastened to lay the 
tables, which were such as befit Kings. And *Ala-ed-Din and the 
Sultan and the grandees of the realm and the chief officers of state 
sat down and ate and drank till they were satisfied. And there were 
great rejoicings in the palace and the city; and all the nobles were 
delighted, and the people in all the kingdom rejoiced; and the rulers 
of provinces and chiefs of departments from distant regions came to 
see the wedding of *Ala-ed-Din and the festivities. And the Sultan 
wondered in his mind at 'Ala-ed-Din's mother — how she used to 
come to him in shabby clothes when her son possessed such vast 
wealth. And the people who came to the Sultan's palace to witness 
the fetes of *Ala-ed-Din, when they saw his new palace and the 
beauty of the building, marvelled greatly how a splendid palace 
like that could be finished in a single night. And they fell to bless- 
ing 'Ala-ed-Din, and saying: "God give him enjoyment! By Allah, 
verily he deserveth it! God bless his days!" 

When 'Ala-ed-Din had finished the banquet he arose and took 
leave of the Sultan, and mounting, he and his memluks proceeded 
to his palace, to prepare for the reception of his bride the Lady 
Bedr-el-Budur. And all the people cheered him with one shout as 
he went: "God give thee enjoyment! God increase thy glory! God 
prolong thy life!" And a vast concourse accompanied him as far 
as his home, while he scattered gold amongst them. When he was 
come to his palace, he dismounted and entered it and seated himself 
on the divan, and the memluks stood attentive before him; and 
presently they brought him sherbets. After which he gave command 
to his memluks and maidens, eunuchs and all his household, to 
prepare for the reception of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur his bride. Now 
when it was afternoon and the air had become cool and the heat 
of the sun had abated, the Sultan ordered the troops and emirs of 
the state and wezirs to descend into the Meydan or riding-ground; 
so they all went down, and the Sultan with them. And 'Ala-ed- 
Din arose, and mounted with his memluks, and went down also to 
the Meydan. And he displayed his horsemanship, playing with the 
Jerid^ in the Meydan, so that none could stand against him. He was 

2 Javelin of palm. 


riding a stallion the like of which did not exist among the horses 
of the purest Arabs. And his bride the Lady Bedr-el-Budur watched 
him from a window of her apartments, and seeing his grace and 
horsemanship, she fell violently in love with him, and almost flew 
with joy. When they had jousted round the Meydan and had each 
shewn what horsemanship he possessed, and 'Ala-ed-Din the best of 
them all, the Sultan proceeded to his palace, and 'Ala-ed-Din re- 
turned to his own. 

And when it was evening, the nobles and wezirs came and took 
'Ala-ed-Din and conducted him in procession to the bath called 
Imperial, which he entered, and was bathed and perfumed, and 
coming forth put on a dress more gorgeous than before. Then he 
mounted, and the guards and emirs rode before him, and escorted 
him in stately progress, while four of the wezirs surrounded him 
with drawn swords. And all the people, natives and strangers alike, 
and all the troops, marched before him in procession, bearing candles 
and drums and pipes and instruments of joy and revel, till they 
arrived at his palace, where he dismounted, and entering, seated 
himself. And the wezirs and emirs who were with him sat also; 
and the memluks brought sherbets and sweet drinks, and served 
all the crowd who had come with him in procession — a multitude 
past numbering. And *Ala-ed-Din ordered his memluks to go 
forth from the palace gate and scatter gold among the crowd. When 
the Sultan returned from the Meydan and entered his palace, he 
forthwith ordered them to form a procession for his daughter the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur, to escort her to her bridegroom's palace. There- 
upon the guards and officers of state who had taken part in 'Ala-ed- 
Din*s progress, mounted, and the handmaids and eunuchs brought 
forth tapers and escorted the Lady Bedr-el-Budur in a stately pro- 
cession till they brought her to her bridegroom's palace. 'Ala-ed- 
Din's mother walked beside her; and in front were the wives of the 
wezirs and the emirs and grandees and chief officers; and along with 
her were the eight-and-forty damsels which 'Ala-ed-Din had given 
her, each carrying in her hand a tall taper of camphor and ambergris 
set in a candlestick of gold inlaid with jewels. And they all went 
forth with her from the seraglio, men and women, and marched 
before her till they came to her groom's palace, when they took her 


to her apartments, and changed her dress and displayed her. And 
when the displaying was over they led her to the chamber o£ her 
bridegroom 'Ala-ed-Din, and he went in to her. 

Now his mother was with the bride, and when he came to unveil 
her, his mother began to observe the beauty o£ the bride and her 
loveliness. And she looked at the chamber she was in, all sparkling 
with gold and jewels; and there were lustres of gold all set with 
emeralds and rubies. And she said within herself: "I used to think 
the Sultan's palace magnificent, but this chamber is unique. Me- 
thinks not one of the greatest of Emperors and Kings ever attained 
to its like, and I do not believe that all the world could make a 
chamber like this." And the Lady Bedr-el-Budur also began to look 
and wonder at this palace and its splendour. Then the tables were 
laid, and they all ate and drank and made merry; after which eighty 
handmaidens came before them, each with an instrument of joy 
and revel in her hand; and they stretched their fingers and touched 
the strings and evolved harmonious modulations till they rent the 
hearts of the hearers. And the Lady Bedr-el-Budur wondered the 
more, and said within herself: "Never in my life have I heard songs 
like these," till she left off eating and gave herself up to listening. 
And 'Ala-ed-Din poured out wine for her and gave it her with his 
own hand. And content and great rejoicing fell upon them, and it 
was a glorious night, such as Alexander, Lord of the two Horns, 
never spent in his time. And when they had done eating and drink- 
ing and the tables were taken away, 'Ala-ed-Din arose and went in 
to his bride. 

And when it was morning *Ala-ed-Din arose, and the treasurer 
brought him a splendid costly suit of the richest of the robes of 
Kings. And he dressed, and they brought him collee with ambergris, 
and he drank; and then ordered the horses to be saddled, and 
mounted, and his memluks rode before and behind him. And he 
proceeded to the palace of the Sultan, and as soon as he had arrived 
and entered, the servants went and informed the Sultan of his 
arrival; who, when he heard of it, arose straightway to meet him, 
and embraced and kissed him as though he were his son, and seated 
him on his right. And the wezirs and emirs and officers of state and 
nobles of the realm blessed him, and the Sultan blessed and con- 


gratulated him. And he ordered breakfast to be brought and they all 
breakfasted. And when they had eaten and drunk their fill, and the 
servants had removed the tables from before them, 'Ala-ed-Din 
turned to the Sultan and said: "O my lord, v^ill thy Felicity deign 
to honour me this day to dinner with the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, thy 
well-beloved daughter, accompanied by all the wezirs and nobles of 
thy realm?" And the Sultan, being charmed with him, answered: 
"Thou art too hospitable, O my son." And forthwith he ordered the 
wezirs and officers of state and grandees of the realm, and arose and 
took horses, and they likewise, and *Ala-ed-Din rode with them 
till they came to the new palace. And when the Sultan had 
entered and considered the building and its construction and 
masonry, which was of jasper and carnelian, his reason was con- 
founded and distraught at this splendour and wealth and magnifi- 
cence. And turning to the Wezir, he asked: "What sayest thou, O 
Wezir ? Hast thou seen in all thy time a thing like this, or is there 
to be found among the Kings of the world such wealth and gold 
and jewels as we see here in this palace?" And the Wezir replied: 
"O my lord the King, this is a thing that is not within the reach of 
any King of the sons of Adam, and all the people of the world 
could not have built a palace like this, nor could masons construct 
such a work, except, as I said to thy Felicity, by the power of magic." 
But the Sultan knew that the Wezir could never speak without envy 
of 'Ala-ed-Din, and wished to prove to the Sultan that all this was 
not done by strength of man, but wholly by force of magic. So the 
Sultan answered him: "Enough, O Wezir; thou hast no more to 
say; and I know the reason of thy speaking thus." 

Then *Ala-ed-Din walked before the Sultan till they came to the 
upper kiosk, where he looked at the ceiling and windows and lattices 
all set with emeralds and rubies and other precious stones, and he 
was astonished and astounded and his wits were confounded, and 
he was distraught in his mind. Then the Sultan began to wander 
about the kiosk and look at things which captivated the reason. 
And he perceived the bay which *Ala-ed-Din had purposely left un- 
finished. And when the Sultan had examined it and saw that it 
was not complete, he cried : "Woe to thee, O bay, that thou art not 
perfect!" And turning to the Wezir, he said: "Knewest thou the 


cause of the unfinished state of this bay and its lattices?" And he 
repUed: "O my lord, I think this window is left unfinished on 
account of thy Felicity hastening the wedding of 'Ala-ed-Din, so that 
he had not time to finish it." At that moment 'Ala-ed-Din had gone 
to his bride, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, to apprise her of the visit of 
her father the Sultan. But when he returned, the latter asked him : 
"O my son *Ala-ed-Din, what is the reason that this bay of the kiosk 
is not complete?" And 'Ala-ed-Din replied: "O King of the Age, 
in consequence of the hurry of the wedding I could not get workmen 
to finish it." Then said the Sultan: "It is a fancy of mine to complete 
it myself." "God continue thy glory, O King," answered 'Ala-ed- 
Din. "So shall thy memory be perpetuated in thy daughter's palace." 
Then the Sultan ordered them to bring the jewellers and gold- 
smiths, and commanded that they should be furnished from the treas- 
ury with all they wanted of gold and jewels and minerals; and when 
they were assembled he bade them complete what was lacking in 
the lattice of the kiosk. 

Meanwhile the Lady Bedr-el-Budur came to meet her father the 
Sultan, and as she drew near he noticed her face was smiling; so he 
embraced and kissed her, and led her into the kiosk, where all 
entered together. It was the time of the noon meal, and one table 
was prepared for the Sultan and the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and 'Ala- 
ed-Din, and a second for the Wezirs and lords of state and grandees 
of the realm and officers of the army and chamberlains and gentle- 
men of the guard. 

Then the Sultan seated himself between his daughter and his son- 
in-law. And when he stretched forth his hand to the food and 
tasted it, he was filled with surprise at the viands and the admirable 
and savoury cookery. And before him stood eighty damsels, each 
of whom might say to the full moon: "Get up, that I may seat 
myself in thy stead!" And they all held instruments of joy and revel 
in their hands, and tuned them, and stretched out their fingers 
and touched the strings, and drew forth melodious strains, which 
would expand the heart of the sorrowful. And the Sultan was de- 
lighted. The moment was agreeable, and he was happy, and said: 
"Verily this thing transcendeth the power of Emperors and Kings." 
So they fell to eating and drinking, and the cup went round among 


them till they were satisfied; then fruits and sweetmeats and the 
like were brought and served in another apartment, whither they 
repaired and took their fill of these delights. Then the Sultan arose 
to look at the work of the jewellers and goldsmiths, and see if it 
resembled that of the palace. So he ascended to them and inspected 
their work and how they had progressed; but he perceived a strong 
contrast, and that they were unable to produce such work as the 
palace of 'Ala-ed-Din. They told him that they had brought all the 
jewels they could find in the [ordinary] treasury, but it was not 
enough. Upon this he ordered the Great Treasury to be opened, 
and gave them what they wanted; and [said that] if that were still 
insufficient, they might take the present which 'Ala-ed-Din had given 
him. So the jewellers took all the precious stones which the Sultan 
allowed, and they worked with them and again found that they 
had not enough, and were unable to complete half what remained 
unfinished of the lattices of the kiosk. Thereupon the Sultan com- 
manded them to seize all the jewels which they might find among 
the wezirs and grandees of the state. So the jewellers took them all 
and continued their task, and even so there was not enough. 

When morning came, 'Ala-ed-Din ascended to see how the jewel- 
lers had worked, and perceived that they had not completed half the 
deficient bay. So he immediately ordered them to take down all 
that they had done and return the jewels to their owners. So they 
undid it all, and sent to the Sultan what was his, and to the wezirs 
what was theirs. Then the jewellers went to the Sultan and told 
him that *Ala-ed-Din had ordered them thus. And he asked them: 
"What did he say? What was his reason, and why was he not 
pleased that the bay should be finished, and why did he demoHsh 
what ye had done?" They answered: "O our lord, we have no 
knowledge at all, but he bade us demolish all we had done." There- 
upon the Sultan called for his horses and mounted and went to 
*Ala-ed-Din's palace. 

Now 'Ala-ed-Din, after dismissing the goldsmiths and jewellers 
retired into his closet, and rubbed the Lamp, when the Slave instantly 
appeared, saying: "Ask whatsoever thou desirest, for thy Slave is in 
thy hands." And *Ala-ed-Din said: "I wish thee to finish the bay 
that was left incomplete." "On the head and also the eye," answered 


the Slave, and vanished, but shortly returned, saying: "O my lord, 
that which thou didst command me to do is finished." So *Ala-ed- 
Din mounted to the kiosk and saw all the bays were perfect. And 
whilst he was inspecting them, lo, a eunuch came and said : "O my 
master, the Sultan cometh to thee, and entereth the palace gate." 
So 'Ala-ed-Din went down at once to meet him. When the Sultan 
saw him he cried: "O my son, wherefore hast thou done thus, and 
wouldest not let the jewellers finish the lattice of the kiosk, so that 
an unfinished spot remaineth in thy palace?" And *Ala-ed-Din re- 
plied: "O King of the Age, I left it imperfect only for a purpose; for 
I was not unequal to finishing it, nor could I wish thy Felicity to 
honour me at a palace wherein anything was imperfect. But that 
thou mayest know that I am not incapable of perfecting it, I beg 
of thy Felicity to inspect the bays of the kiosk, and see if there be 
aught unfinished there." So the King ascended to the apartments 
and entered the kiosk and began to look over it to the right and the 
left, but he found nothing whatever incomplete, but found all the 
bays perfect. And seeing this he was astonished, and embraced 'Ala- 
ed-Din and fell to kissing him, saying: "O my son, what strange 
doing is this! In a single night thou canst accomplish a work which 
the jewellers would fail to do in months! By Allah, I do not think 
thou hast a fellow or peer in the world." And ' Ala-ed-Din replied : 
"God prolong thy life and continue thy length of days forever! 
Thy servant is not worthy of such praise." But the King said, "O 
my son, verily thou art worthy of all praise, since thou hast ac- 
complished a thing which all the workmen in the universe could 
not do." Then the Sultan descended and went to the apartments of 
his daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur to rest with her; and he saw 
that she was very happy at the state and magnificence that sur- 
rounded her, and after resting awhile he returned to his palace. 

Every day *Ala-ed-Din used to ride through the city with his 
memluks before and behind, scattering gold right and left among 
the people, and all the world, foreigners and neighbours, the far 
and the near, were alike drawn with love to him by reason of his 
excessive generosity and bounty. And he increased the provision for 
the poor and indigent, and himself gave them alms with his own 
hand; for which deeds he acquired great renown throughout the 


realm; and many of the grandees of the state and the emirs ate at 
his table, and men swore only "by his precious life!" And he went 
frequently to the chase and the Meydan and horse exercises and 
javelin jousts in the presence of the Sultan. And whenever the Lady 
Bedr-el-Budur saw him performing on the backs of horses, her love 
for him waxed stronger, and she thought within herself that God 
had been very gracious to her in causing to happen that which 
happened with the son of the Wezir, so that she was reserved to be 
the virgin bride of 'Ala-ed-Din. 

Thus *Ala-ed-Din daily increased in fair fame and renown, and 
the love of him grew stronger in the hearts of all the subjects, and 
he was magnified in the eyes of the people. At this time, moreover, 
certain of the Sultan's enemies rode down against him, and the 
Sultan equipped the troops to resist them, and made 'Ala-ed-Din 
leader of the army. So 'Ala-ed-Din went with the troops, till he 
drew near to the enemy, whose armies were very strong. And he drew 
his sword, and rushed upon the enemy, and the battle and slaughter 
began, and the conflict was sturdy. But 'Ala-ed-Din broke them and 
dispersed them, killing the greater part, and looting their goods and 
provisions and cattle beyond number. Then he returned triumphant 
after a glorious victory, and made his entry into his city, who had 
adorned herself for him in her rejoicing over him. And the Sultan 
went forth to meet him and congratulated him and embraced and 
kissed him, and there was a magnificent fete and great rejoicings. 
And the Sultan and 'Ala-ed-Din entered the palace, where there met 
him his bride, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, who was rejoicing over him, 
and kissed him between the eyes. And they went into her palace, 
and presently the Sultan and all sat down, and the damsels brought 
sherbets. So they drank; and the Sultan ordered throughout the 
kingdom that they should illuminate for the victory of 'Ala-ed-Din 
over the enemy. And the chiefs and the soldiers and the crowd 
turned [their prayers] only to God in Heaven and 'Ala-ed-Din on 
earth, for they loved him exceedingly, because of the excess of his 
bounty and generosity and his fighting for his country, and his 
charge, and his rout of the foe. And thus was it with 'Ala-ed-Din. 

But as to the Moorish sorcerer, when he had returned to his 
country, he spent all this time in lamenting the labour and trouble 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 403 

he had taken in his quest of the Lamp, and the more because his 
labour was fruitless; and the morsel had fallen from his hand just 
as it was touching his hps. And he fell to thinking over all this, 
and lamented, and cursed 'Ala-ed-Din in his exceeding rage, and at 
times he would mutter: "That this misbegotten boy is dead below 
ground I am satisfied, and I hope yet to get the Lamp, since it is 
still safe." 

One day of the days he drew a table in sand and put the figures 
down and examined them carefully and verified them, that he might 
perceive and be certified of the death of 'Ala-ed-Din and the preser- 
vation of the Lamp, beneath the ground; and he looked into the 
figures, both "mothers" and "daughters," intently, but he saw not 
the Lamp. At this, anger overcame him, and he drew the figure 
again, to be certain of *Ala-ed-Din's death; but he saw him not in 
the Treasury. So his rage increased and the more so when he 
ascertained that the boy was alive on the surface of the earth. And 
when he knew that he had come forth from underground and was 
possessed of the Lamp for which he himself had endured privations 
and labour such as man can hardly bear, then he said within him- 
self: "I have borne many pains and suffered torments which no one 
else would have endured for the sake of the Lamp, and this cursed 
boy has taken it without an effort; and if this accursed knoweth the 
virtues of the Lamp, no one in the world should be richer than he." 
And he added: "There is nothing for it but that I compass his 
destruction." So he drew a second table, and inspecting the figures, 
discovered that 'Ala-ed-Din had acquired immense wealth and had 
married the daughter of the Sultan. So he was consumed with the 
flame of anger begotten of envy. 

He arose that very hour, and equipped himself, and journeyed to 
the land of China, and when he arrived at the metropolis wherein 
dwelt 'Ala-ed-Din, he entered and alighted at one of the Khans. And 
he heard the people talking of nothing but the splendour of 'Ala-ed- 
Din's palace. After he had rested from his journey, he dressed him- 
self and went down to perambulate the streets of the city. And he 
never met any people but they were admiring this palace and its 
splendour, and talking together of the beauty of 'Ala-ed-Din and his 
grace and dignity and generosity and the charm of his manners. 


And the Moor approached one of those who were depicting *Ala-ed- 
Din with these encomiums, and said to him: "O gentle youth, who 
may this be whom ye praise and commend?" And the other re- 
pHed : "It is evident that thou, O man, art a stranger and comest from 
distant parts; but be thou from ever so distant a land, how hast thou 
not heard of the Emir 'Ala-ed-Din whose fame, methinks, hath filled 
the world and whose palace one of the Wonders of the World hath 
been heard of far and near? And how hast thou not heard any- 
thing of this or of the name of 'Ala-ed-Din, our Lord increase his 
glory and give him joy?" But the Moor answered: "Verily it is the 
height of my desire to see the palace, and if thou wilt do me the 
favour, direct me to it, since I am a stranger." Then the man said, 
"I hear and obey," and proceeded before him and guided him to the 
palace of *Ala-ed-Din. And the Moor began to examine it, and knew 
that it was all the doing of the Lamp, and cried: "Ah! There is 
nothing for it but that I dig a pit for this cursed son of a tailor, who 
could not even earn a supper. And if the fates aid me I will un- 
doubtedly send his mother back to her spinning, as she was before; 
and as for him, I will take his life." 

He returned to the Khan in this state of grief and regret and sad- 
ness for envy of 'Ala-ed-Din. When he arrived at the Khan he took 
his instruments of divination and drew a table to discover where 
the Lamp was; and he found it was in the palace, and not on 'Ala- 
ed-Din himself. Whereat he rejoiced mightily, and said: "The task 
remaineth easy, to destroy the life of this accursed; and I have a way 
to obtain the Lamp." Then he went to a coppersmith and said: 
"Make me a number of lamps, and take their price, and more; only 
I wish thee to hasten to finish them." And the coppersmith an- 
swered, "I hear and obey." And he set to work at them and com- 
pleted them; and when they were done the Moor paid him the price 
he asked for them, and took them and departed and went to the 
Khan, where he put them in a basket. Then he went about the 
streets and bazars of the city, crying: "O who will exchange old 
lamps for new?" And when the people heard him crying thus, they 
laughed at him, saying: "No doubt this man is mad, since he goeth 
about to exchange old lamps for new." And all the world followed 
him, and the street boys pursued him from place to place and mocked 


at him; but he gainsaid them not nor cared for that, but did not 
cease perambulating the city till he came under 'Ala-ed-Din's palace, 
when he began to cry in a louder voice, while the boys shouted at 
him, "Madman! Madman!" 

Now by the decrees of destiny the Lady Bedr-el-Budur was in the 
kiosk, and hearing some one crying and the boys shouting at him, 
and not understanding what it was all about, she ordered one of her 
handmaids, saying: "Go and find out who it is that crieth and what 
he is crying." So the damsel went to look, and perceived a man 
crying: "O who will exchange old lamps for new?" and the boys 
around him making sport of him. And she returned and told her 
mistress Bedr-el-Budur, saying: "O my lady, this man is crying: 'O 
who will exchange old lamps for new?' and the urchins are follow- 
ing him and laughing at him." So the Lady Bedr-el-Budur laughed 
too at this oddity. Now 'Ala-ed-Din had left the Lamp in his apart- 
ment, instead of replacing it in the Treasury and locking it up, and 
one of the maids had seen it. So she said: "O my mistress, me- 
thinks I have seen in my master's room an old lamp; let us exchange 
it with this man for a new one, to find out if his cry be true or 
false." And the Lady Bedr-el-Budur said to her: "Bring the Lamp 
which thou sayest thou didst see in thy master's room." For the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur had no knowledge of the Lamp and its qualities, 
and that it was this which had brought 'Ala-ed-Din her husband to 
his present high station; and her chief desire was to try and discover 
the object of this man who exchanged new lamps for old. So the 
damsel went and ascended to the apartment of *Ala-ed-Din and 
brought the Lamp to her mistress, and none of them suspected the 
guile of the Moorish wizard and his cunning. Then the Lady Bedr- 
el-Budur ordered an agha of the eunuchs to go down and exchange 
the Lamp for a new one. So he took the Lamp and gave it to 
the Moor and received from him a new lamp, and returned 
to the Princess and gave her the exchange; and she, after examining 
it, saw it was really new, and fell a-laughing at the folly of the 

But he, when he got the Lamp and knew it was the Lamp of the 
Treasure, instantly put it in his bosom and abandoned the rest of the 
lamps to the people who were chaffering with him, and went run- 


ning till he came to the outskirts of the city, when he walked on over 
the plains and waited patiently till night had fallen, and he saw 
that he was alone in the desert, and none there but he. Then he took 
forth the Lamp from his bosom and rubbed it, and immediately the 
Marid appeared to him, and said : "At thy service, I am thy slave in 
thy hands; ask of me what thou desirest." So the Moor replied: "I 
require thee to remove the palace of *Ala-ed-Din from its site, with 
its inmates and all that is in it, and myself also, and set it in my 
country, the land of Africa. Thou knowest my town, and I wish this 
palace to be in my town, among the gardens." And the Marid slave 
replied, "I hear and obey. Shut thine eye and open it, and thou wilt 
find thyself in thy country along with the palace." And in a moment 
this was done, and the Moor and the palace of *Ala-ed-Din and all 
in it were removed to the land of Africa. Thus it was with the 
Moorish sorcerer. 

To return to the Sultan and 'Ala-ed-Din. When the Sultan arose 
in the morning from his sleep, in his affection and love for his 
daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, he was wont every day when he 
was aroused from sleep to open the window and look out towards 
her. So he arose that day, as usual, and opened the window to look 
upon his daughter. But when he approached the window and looked 
towards the palace of 'Ala-ed-Din, he beheld nothing — nay, the 
place was as bare as it was of yore, and he saw neither palace nor 
any other building. And he was wrapped in amazement and dis- 
traught in mind; and he rubbed his eyes, in case they were dimmed 
or darkened, and returned to his observation, till at last he was sure 
that no trace or vestige of the palace remained; and he knew not 
how or why it had disappeared. So his wonder increased, and he 
smote his hands together, and the tears trickled down over his beard, 
because he knew not what had become of his daughter. 

Then he sent at once and had the Wezir fetched. And he stood 
before him, and as soon as he came in he noticed the sorrowful state 
of his sovereign, and said to him: "Pardon, O King of the Age. 
God defend thee from calamity. Wherefore dost thou grieve?" The 
Sultan replied: "Perhaps thou dost not know my trouble?" And the 
Wezir said: "Not a whit, O my lord. By Allah, I have no knowl- 
edge of it whatever." Then said the Sultan : "It is evident thou hast 


not looked towards the palace of 'Ala-ed-Din." "True, O my 
master," replied the Wezir, "it must now be still closed." Then said 
the King: "Since thou hast no knowledge o£ anything, arise and 
look out of the window and see where 'Ala-ed-Din's palace is which 
thou sayest is shut up." So the Wezir arose and looked out of the 
window towards the palace of 'Ala-ed-Din, and could espy nothing, 
neither palace nor anything else. So his reason was amazed and he 
was astounded, and returned to the Sultan, who said: "Dost thou 
know now the reason of my grief, and hast thou observed the palace 
of 'Ala-ed-Din which thou saidst was shut?" The Wezir answered: 
"O King of the Age, I informed thy Felicity before that this palace 
and all these doings were magic." Then the Sultan was inflamed 
with wrath, and cried out: "Where is 'Ala-ed-Din?" He answered: 
"Gone to the chase." Thereupon the Sultan instandy ordered some 
of his aghas and soldiers to go and fetch 'Ala-ed-Din, pinioned and 
shackled. So the aghas and soldiers proceeded till they came upon 
'Ala-ed-Din, whom they thus addressed: "Chastise us not, O our 
master 'Ala-ed-Din, for the Sultan hath commanded us to take thee 
chained and pinioned. So we beg thy pardon, for we are acting 
under the royal mandate, which we cannot oppose." When *Ala-ed- 
Din heard the words of the aghas and soldiers, wonder took hold 
of him, and his tongue became ' tied, for he understood not the cause 
of this. Then turning to them, he said: "O company, have ye no 
knowledge of the cause of this order of the Sultan ? I know myself 
to be innocent, and to have committed no sin against the Sultan 
or against the kingdom." They answered: "O our master, we know 
no cause at all." Then 'Ala-ed-Din dismounted and said to them: 
"Do with me what the Sultan ordered, for the command of the 
Sultan must be on the head and the eye." Then the aghas chained 
'Ala-ed-Din and manacled him and bound him with irons and led 
him to the city. And when the citizens saw him bound and chained 
with iron, they knew that the Sultan would cut off his head; and 
since he was exceedingly beloved of them all, the lieges assembled 
together and brought their weapons and went forth from their 
houses and followed the soldiers to see what would be the event. 
When the troops with 'Ala-ed-Din reached the palace, they en- 
tered 'and told the Sultan; whereupon he straightway commanded 


the executioner to come and cut off his head. But when the citizens 
knew this, they barred the gates and shut the doors of the palace, 
and sent a message to the Sultan, saying: "We will instantly pull 
down thy house over thy head and all others in it, if any mischief 
or harm come to 'Ala-ed-Din." So the Wezir went in and in- 
formed the Sultan, saying: "O King of the Age, thy command is 
about to seal the book of our lives. It were better to pardon 'Ala-ed- 
Din lest there come upon us the calamity of calamities; for the lieges 
love him more than us." Now the executioner had already spread the 
carpet of death, and seated 'Ala-ed-Din thereon, and bandaged his 
eyes, and had walked round him thrice, waiting for the King's 
command, when the Sultan looking out of 'the window, beheld his 
subjects attacking him and scaling the walls with intent to pull them 
down. So he immediately ordered the executioner to stay his 'hand, 
and bade the herald go out to the crowd and proclaim that he had 
pardoned 'Ala-ed-Din and granted him grace. When 'Ala-ed-Din 
saw he was free, and espied the Sultan seated on his throne, he drew 
near and said to him: "O my lord, since thy 'Felicity hath been 
gracious to me all my life, vouchsafe to tell me what is my ofiFence." 
Then the Sultan said: "O traitor, hitherto I knew of no offence in 
thee." And turning to the Wezir, he said: "Take him and shew him 
from the windows where his palace is." And when the Wezir 'had 
led him and he had looked out of the window in the direction of 
his palace, he found the site bare as it was before he built his palace 
thereon; and he saw never a vestige of the palace at all. So he was 
amazed and bewildered and knew not what had happened. And 
when he returned, the King asked him: "What hast thou seen? 
Where is thy palace, and where is my daughter, the kernel of my 
heart, my only child, than whom I have none other?" And 'Ala- 
ed-Din answered: "O King of the Age, I know not at all, nor what 
this is that hath occurred." Then said the Sultan: "Know, O 'Ala- 
ed-Din, that I have pardoned thee in order that thou mayest go and 
look into this matter and search for my daughter for me; and do not 
present thyself without her; for if thou bringest her not, by my 
life I will cut off thy head." And 'Ala-ed-Din replied: "I hear and 
obey, O King of the Age. Only grant me a delay of forty days, and 
then if I do not bring her, cut oflf my head and do what thou wilt." 


And the Sultan answered: "I grant thee a delay of forty days, as thou 
askest, but think not to escape from my hand, for I would bring 
thee back even if thou wert up in the clouds instead of on the face 
of 'the earth." "O my lord the Sultan," said 'Ala-ed-Din, "as I told 
thy Felicity, if I fail to bring her at the appointed time, I will come 
and have my head cut off." 

Now when all the people and citizens saw that 'Ala-ed-Din was 
released, they rejoiced with exceeding joy and were glad at his 
escape; but the shame of what had befallen him, and bashfulness, 
and the jealous satisfaction [of his enemies] caused 'Ala-ed-Din's 
head to droop. So he 'went wandering about the city, and was be- 
wildered at the case and knew not what had happened to him. For 
two days he remained in the city, in a sorrowful state, knowing 
not how to find his wife and palace, while some of the people 
brought him food and drink. 'After the two days he left the city, and 
wandered about the desert in an aimless manner, and walked on 
without stopping till the road led him beside a river, where, in the 
heaviness of the grief that oppressed him he gave up hope, and 
longed to throw himself into the river. But being a Muslim, and 
professing the Unity of God, he feared God in his soul, and he stood 
at the river's 'bank to perform the religious ablutions. Now as he 
was taking the water in his hands, he began to rub his fingers to- 
gether, and, so doing, he chanced to rub the Ring. Thereupon the 
Marid [of the Ring] appeared and said: "At thy service! Thy slave 
is in thy hands. Ask of me what thou desirest." And when he saw 
the Marid, *Ala-ed-Din rejoiced with great joy, and said: "O Slave, I 
desire thee to 'bring me my palace and my wife, the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur, in it, and all else that it containeth." But the Marid an- 
swered: "O my master thou askest a hard matter which I cannot do. 
This thing pertaineth to the Slave of the Lamp, and I am not able 
to attempt it." So *Ala-ed-Din replied: "Since this thing is beyond 
thy power, take me 'only and place me beside my palace wherever 
it may be on the earth." And the Slave answered : "I hear and obey, 
O my master." So the Marid bore him away, and in 'the twinkHng 
of an eye set him down beside his palace in the land of Africa, in 
front of the 'apartment of his wife. It was then nightfall, yet he 
espied the palace and knew it to be his. And his grief vanished, and 


he hoped in God, after hope had been cut off, that he 'should see his 
wife once more. And he began to consider the mysterious workings 
of God (glory to his omnipotence!), and how the Ring had cheered 
him, when all hope would have died had not God aided him with 
the Slave of the Ring. So he rejoiced, and all* his tribulation left him. 
And as he had gone four days without sleep, from the heaviness of 
his grief and anxiety and excess of pondering, he went beside the 
palace and slept under a tree; for, as hath been said, the palace was 
amid the gardens of Africa outside the city. 

That night he slept beside the palace under a tree in perfect 
repose, though he whose head belongeth to the headsman sleepeth 
not of nights save when drowsiness compelleth him. But for the 
space of four days sleep had deserted him. So he 'slept till broad 
day, when he was awakened by the warbling of birds, and arose and 
went to the river there, which flowed to the city, and washed his 
hands and face, and performed the ablutions, and said the morning- 
prayer. And when he had done praying he returned and sat under 
the window of the apartment of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. Now she, 
in the excess of her grief at her separation from her husband and 
from the Sultan, her father, and the horror of what had befallen her 
from the accursed Moorish wizard, was wont to arise every day at 
the streak of dawn, and to sit weeping; for she slept not at all of 
nights, and avoided food and drink. And her handmaiden would 
come to 'her at prayer-time to dress her, and as fate had decreed, the 
girl had opened the window at that instant in order for her to look 
upon the trees and the streams and console herself. And the maid 
looked out 'of the window and discovered 'Ala-ed-Din, her master, 
sitting beneath the apartment, and she said to the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur: "O my mistress, O my mistress! Here is my master 'Ala-ed- 
Din sitting under the window." So the Lady Bedr-el-Budur arose in 
haste and looked out of the window and saw him, and 'Ala-ed-Din 
turned his head and saw her, and she greeted him and he 'greeted 
her, and they were both like to fly with joy. And she said to him: 
"Arise and come in to me by the secret door, now that the accursed 
is away." And she bade the girl descend and open the secret door 
for him. And 'Ala-ed-Din arose and entered thereby, and his wife, 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, met him at the door, and they embraced 

'ala-ed-din and the wonderful lamp 411 

and kissed one another in perfect bliss till they began to weep from 
excess of happiness. And when they were seated *Ala-ed-Din said 
to her: "O Lady Bedr-el-Budur, before anything it is my wish to 
ask thee somewhat. It was my habit to put an old copper lamp in 
my apartment in a certain place. . . ." When the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur heard this, she sighed and said: "Alas, my beloved, it was 
that Lamp that was the cause of our falHng into this misfortune." 
And *Ala-ed-Din asked her, "How did this aifair happen?" And 
she told him the whole story from first to last, and how they had 
exchanged the old lamp for a new one. And she added : "The next 
day we hardly saw one another in the morning before we found our- 
selves in this country; and he who cozened us and exchanged the 
Lamp told me that he had done this by force of magic by the aid 
of the Lamp, and that he is a Moor of Africa, and we are in his 

When the Lady Bedr-el-Budur had done speaking, *Ala-ed-Din 
said to her: "Tell me what this accursed is going to do with thee, 
and what and how he speaketh to thee, and what is his will of thee." 
She answered: "He cometh to see me every day only once, and he 
would win me to love him, and marry him instead of thee, and for- 
get thee and be consoled for thee. And he saith that the Sultan, my 
father, hath cut off thy head, and telleth me that thou art of poor 
people, and that he is the cause of thy wealth. And he blandisheth 
me with his words, but he never seeth in me anything but tears 
and weeping, and he hath not heard a kind word from me." Then 
*Ala-ed-Din said: "Tell me, if thou knowest, where he keepeth the 
Lamp." But she replied: '"He carry eth it always with him, and it is 
not possible to part him from it for a single instant. But once, when 
he told me what I had related to thee, he took 'it from his bosom 
and shewed it to me." So when 'Ala-ed-Din heard these words he 
rejoiced greatly, and said: "O Lady Bedr-el-Budur, listen. I propose 
to go out now and return after changing my dress. So be not sur- 
prised at it; but instruct one of thy maidens 'to stand by the private 
door till she see me, and then open it at once. And now I will plot 
how to slay this 'Accursed." 

Therefore 'Ala-ed-Din arose and went forth from the palace gate, 
and proceeded till he met by the way a peasant, to whom he said: 


"O man, take my clothes and give me thine." But the peasant would 
not do so. So *Ala-ed-Din compelled him and took his clothes from 
him and put them on, and gave him his own costly robes. Then he 
went along the road till he reached the city. And he went to the 
bazar of the perfumers and bought of them some potent benj, the 
son of an instant,^ buying two drachms of it for two dinars. Then he 
returned along the road till he came to the palace; and when the 
slave-girl saw him she opened the private door. And he entered to 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and said to her: "Listen! I wish thee to 
dress and adorn thyself and dismiss grief; and when this damned 
Moor Cometh, do thou receive him with a pleasant welcome, and 
meet him with a smiling face, and bid him come and sup with thee; 
and^shew him that thou hast forgotten thy beloved 'Ala-ed-Din and 
thy father, and that thou lovest him with vehement love. Then ask 
him for a drink, and let it be red wine; and, shewing all the tokens 
of joy 'and happiness, drink to his secret; and when thou hast served 
him with three cups of wine, so as to make him careless, put this 
powder in the cup and crown it with wine; and as soon as 'he 
drinketh this cup wherein thou hast put this powder, he shall in- 
stantly fall, like a dead man, on his back." And when the Lady 
Bedr-el-Budur heard these words of *Ala-ed-Din she said: "This is 
an exceedingly difficult thing for me to do; but to escape from the 
profanation of this accursed, who hath afflicted me with separation 
from thee and from my father, it is lawful to kill the wretch." Then, 
after *Ala-ed-Din had eaten and drunk with his wife and appeased 
his hunger, he arose without delay or hindrance and went forth 
from the palace. 

Then the Lady Bedr-el-Budur sent for her tirewoman, who at- 
tired her and 'adorned her and put on her handsomest dress and 
perfumed her. And whilst she was doing so, behold, the cursed 
Moor appeared. And when he looked at her in this array, he re- 
joiced greatly, and 'all the more when she received him with a 
smiling face, contrary to her habit; and his love for her increased, 
and he desired her passionately. Then she took him by her side and 
seated him, 'saying: "O my beloved, if thou wilt, come to me this 
night and let us sup together. Enough of sorrow have I had, and 

3 Le., which took effect in a moment. 


were I to sit mourning for a thousand years or two, 'Ala-ed-Din 
would not come back to me from the grave. And I rely upon what 
thou saidst yesterday, that my father slew him in his sorrow at my 
absence. Do not wonder that I am changed since yesterday; it is 
because I have resolved to take thee as my lover and intimate in- 
stead of 'Ala-ed-Din, for I have no other man than thee. So I look 
for thy coming to me to-night, that we may sup together and drink 
a little wine with one another. And it is my desire that thou give 
me to taste of the wine of thy native Africa; perhaps it is better 
than ours. I have with me some wine of our country, but I desire 
greatly to taste the wine of thine." 

When the Moor saw the love which the Lady Bedr-el-Budur dis- 
played towards him, and how she was changed from her former 
melancholy, he believed she had given up hope of 'Ala-ed-Din, and 
he 'rejoiced greatly, and said, "O my soul, I hear and obey whatever 
thou desirest and biddest me. I have in my house a jar of wine 
of my country, which I have kept laid up underground for eight 
years; and now I am going to draw sufficient for us, and will return 
to thee speedily." But the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, in order to coax him 
more and more, said: "O my dearest, do not go thyself, and leave 
me; but send one of the servants to fill for us from it, and remain 
here sitting by me that I may console myself with thee." But he 
said: "O my mistress, none knoweth but I where the jar is, and I 
will not tarry long away from thee." So the Moor went out, and 
after a little time returned with as much wine as they needed. Then 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur said to him : "Thou hast taken pains for me, 
and I have suffered for thy sake, O beloved." And he answered: 
"Not so, O my eye; I am honoured in serving thee." Then the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur sat with him at the table, and they ate, and 
presently the lady asked him for drink; and immediately the hand- 
maid filled for her a goblet, and then filled another for the Moor. 
So she drank to his long life and his secret, and he to her life; and 
she made a boon-fellow of him. Now the Lady Bedr-el-Budur was 
accomplished in eloquence and refinement of speech, and she be- 
witched him by addressing him in a delicious way, so that he might 
become more in love with her. But the Moor thought this was 
sincere, and did not imagine that her love was feigned, a snare to 


kill him. And his infatuation for her increased, and he almost died 
of love when he saw her shew him such sweetness of word and 
thought; and his head swam, and the world seemed nothing in 
his eye. 

When they came to the end of the supper and the wine had al- 
ready mastered his brain, and the Lady Bedr-el-Budur observed it, 
she said: "We have a custom in our country, but I know not if ye 
have it here. Tell me if ye have or not." And the Moor asked, 
"What is this custom?" "At the end of supper," she replied, "for 
every one to take the cup of his beloved and drink it." And she 
forthwith took his cup and filled it with wine for herself, and bade 
the handmaid give him her cup, wherein was wine mixed with the 
benj. Now the maid knew what to do, for all the maids and 
eunuchs in the palace wished for his death, and sympathised with 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. So the girl gave him the cup, and he, when 
he heard her words and saw her drinking out of his cup and giving 
him hers to drink, thought himself Alexander the Great, Lord of the 
two Horns, as he gazed upon all these tokens of love. Then she said 
to him, undulating her sides, and putting her hand in his: "O my 
soul, here is thy cup in my hand, and my cup in thine, thus do 
lovers drink from one another's cups." Then she kissed his cup and 
drank it and put it down and came to him and kissed him on the 
lips. And he flew with delight, and resolved to do as she did, and 
raised the cup to his mouth and drank it of?, without thinking if 
there were anything in it or not. And instantly, in a moment, 
he fell on his back, like a corpse, and the cup fell from his 

Then the Lady Bedr-el-Budur rejoiced, and the maidens ran and 
opened the door to 'Ala-ed-Din, their master, who came in, and went 
up to his wife's room, and found her sitting at the table, with the 
Moor lying in front of her like a dead man. And he drew near and 
kissed her and thanked her. Then rejoicing with excessive joy, he 
turned to her and said: "Do thou and thy slave-girls retire to thy 
apartment and leave me alone now, that I may arrange my plan." 
And the Lady Bedr-el-Budur delayed not, but went, she and her 
maidens. Then *Ala-ed-Din arose, and locking the door after them, 
went up to the Moor and put his hand into his bosom and took 


forth the Lamp; after which he drew his sword and cut off his head. 
Then he rubbed the Lamp, and there appeared the Marid slave, who 
said: "At thy service, O my master. What wilt thou?" And 'Ala- 
ed-Din answered: "I desire thee to lift this palace from this country 
and bear it to the land of China, and set it down in the place where 
it was, opposite the Sultan's palace." And the Marid replied, "I hear 
and obey, O my master." Then 'Ala-ed-Din went and sat with the 
Lady Bedr-el-Budur, his wife, and embraced and kissed her, and she 
him. And they sat in company while the Marid carried the palace 
and set it in its place opposite the palace of the Sultan. 

And 'Ala-ed-Din ordered the maids to bring a table before him, 
and seated himself, he and the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, his wife; and 
they fell to eating and drinking in all joy and happiness till they 
were satisfied. Then withdrawing to the hall of carousal, they sat 
and drank and caroused and kissed each other in perfect bUss. For 
the time had been long since they had enjoyed themselves together. 
So they ceased not till the sun of wine shone in their heads, and 
drowsiness overcame them. Then they arose and went to bed in all 
contentment. Next morning 'Ala-ed-Din arose and awoke his wife, 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur; and the slave-girls came and dressed and ar- 
rayed and adorned her, while 'Ala-ed-Din put on his handsomest 
dress, and both were like to fly for joy at their re-union after separa- 
tion. And the Lady Bedr-el-Budur was the more happy that day, 
because she was going to see her father. Thus was it with 'Ala-ed- 
Din and the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. 

But as for the Sultan, after he had banished 'Ala-ed-Din, he never 
ceased grieving for his daughter; and every hour of every day he 
would sit and weep for her like a woman, for she was his only child 
and he had none other. And as he shook of? his slumber, morning 
after morning, he would go in haste to the window and open it and 
look where 'Ala-ed-Din's palace once stood, and his tears would flow 
till his eyes were dry and his eyelids sore. Now that day he arose 
at daybreak and looked out as usual, when, lo, he espied before him 
a building; so he rubbed his eyes and considered it attentively till 
he was sure it was 'Ala-ed-Din's palace. So he ordered his horse 
instantly on the spot, and when it was saddled he went down and 
mounted and went to 'Ala-ed-Din's palace. And when his son-in-law 


saw him coming, he went clown to meet him half-way, and took him 
by the hand and led him to the apartments of the Lady Bedr-el- 
Budur, his daughter. And she, being very anxious to see her father, 
came down and met him at the door of the staircase in front of the 
hall on the ground floor. So her father embraced her and kissed 
her, and wept, and she likewise. Then *Ala-ed-Din led him to the 
upper rooms, and they sat; and the Sultan asked her of her state and 
what had befallen her. And the Lady Bedr-el-Budur told him all 
that had happened to her, and said: "O my father, I did not arrive 
till yesterday, when I saw my husband. And it was he who de- 
livered me from the power of that man, the Moor, the wizard, the 
accursed. Methinks on the earth's face there is none viler than he. 
And but for *Ala-ed-Din, my beloved, I had not escaped from him, 
nor hadst thou seen me again all my days. But heavy grief and 
sorrow took possession of me, O my father, not only for my separa- 
tion from thee, but also for the parting from my husband, in whose 
debt I shall be all the days of my life, seeing he delivered me from 
that accursed wizard." Then she began to relate to her father all 
that had befallen her, and how the Moor had cheated her in the 
shape of a seller of lamps, exchanging new for old, and how she had 
thought this his folly and laughed at him, and being deceived, had 
taken the old lamp that was in her husband's room and sent it by a 
eunuch and exchanged it for a new lamp. "And the next day, 

my father, we found ourselves, with the palace and all besides, in 
the land of Africa. And I knew not the virtue of the Lamp which 

1 exchanged till my husband came and plotted a stratagem by which 
we escaped. And had he not helped us, the accursed would have 
possessed himself of me by force. But 'Ala-ed-Din, my husband, 
gave me a potion and I put it into his wine-cup, and I gave it him, 
and he drank and fell down like a corpse. Thereupon my husband, 
*Ala-ed-Din, came in, and I know not how it was done, but we were 
carried from Africa to our place here." And 'Ala-ed-Din said: "O 
my lord, when I ascended and saw him like the dead, drunk and 
drowsy with benj, I told the Lady Bedr-el-Budur to go, she and her 
maids, to the inner apartments, and she arose and went, she and her 
maids, from that polluted place. Then I drew near to that accursed 
Moor and put my hand into his bosom, and drew out the Lamp (for 


the Lady Bedr-el-Budur had informed me that he always kept it 
there), and when I had taken it, I bared my sword and cut off his 
damnable head. Then I worked the Lamp and ordered its Slave to 
bear the palace and all therein and set it down in this spot. And if 
thy Felicity doubt my words, arise with me and look upon this 
cursed Moor." So the King arose and went with 'Ala-ed-Din to the 
apartment and saw the Moor, and immediately commanded that 
they should take the carcase away and burn it and scatter the ashes 
to the winds. 

Then the Sultan embraced 'Ala-ed-Din and fell a-kissing him, 
saying: "Forgive me, O my son, that I was going to take thy life, 
through the wickedness of this cursed sorcerer, who threw thee into 
this calamity; but I may be excused, my son, for what I did to thee, 
since I saw myself deprived of my daughter, the only child I have, 
dearer to me than my kingdom. Thou knowest how the hearts of 
parents yearn over their children, and the more when they are like 
me, who have only the Lady Bedr-el-Budur." Thus the Sultan began 
excusing himself to 'Ala-ed-Din and kissing him. But 'Ala-ed-Din 
replied: "O King of the Age, thou didst nothing to me contrary to 
law, nor did I sin against thee; but all this arose from the Moor, 
that filthy wizard." Then the Sultan ordered that the city should 
be decorated, and they adorned it, and the rejoicings and festivities 
were held. And he ordered the herald to proclaim through the 
streets: "This day is a high festival, and let rejoicings be held through- 
out the kingdom for a whole month of thirty days, for the return of 
the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and her husband." Thus was it with 'Ala-ed- 
Din and the Moor. 

Yet 'Ala-ed-Din was not wholly quit of that accursed Moor, al- 
though his body had been burnt and its ashes scattered to the winds. 
For this miscreant had a brother viler than himself, and even more 
skilled in necromancy and geomancy and astrology, — "two beans 
split," as the proverb saith. Each dwelt in his own region of the 
world, to fill it with his spells, his deceit, and his wickedness. Now it 
chanced one day that this brother wished to know how it was with 
the Moor; and he brought out his table and marked the figures, and 
carefully inspecting them, discovered that his brother was in the 
abode of the tomb. So he mourned, being assured of his death. Then 


he tried a second time, to see how he died and the place of his death; 
and he found that he died in China and had perished by the vilest 
of slaughter, and that his destroyer was a youth named 'Ala-ed-Din. 
So he forthwith arose and prepared for a journey, and travelled over 
plains and wastes and mountains a number of months, till he came 
to the land of China and the metropoUs wherein 'Ala-ed-Din dwelt. 
And he went to the foreigners' Khan and hired a room and rested 
there awhile. Then he arose to wander about the streets of the city 
to find a way for the accomplishment of his fell design, of wreak- 
ing vengeance upon 'Ala-ed-Din for his brother. 

Presently he entered a coffee-house in the bazar. It was a large 
place, and many people had gathered together there to play, some 
at Mankala, and others at backgammon, or at chess, and so forth. 
And he sat down there and listened to the people who sat beside him 
talking about a pious woman called Fatimeh, who was always at 
her devotions in a cell outside the town, and never came into the city 
except twice a month, and how she had worked a number of miracles. 
And when the Moorish sorcerer heard this, he said within himself: 
"Now I have found what I wanted. If it please God, by means of 
this woman I shall accomplish my purpose." Then he drew near to 
the people who were talking of the miracles of this old ascetic, and 
he said to one of them : "O Uncle, I heard you discussing the miracles 
of some saint named Fatimeh. Who is she, and where doth she 
dwell?" And the man answered: "Wonderful! how art thou in our 
town and hast not heard of the miracles of our Lady Fatimeh? It 
is plain that thou, my poor friend, art a stranger, since thou hast 
not heard of the fasts of this holy woman and her abstraction from 
the world and the perfection of her piety." And the Moor re- 
joined: "Yes, O my master, I am a foreigner, and only yesternight 
came I to your city; and I hope thou wilt inform me concerning the 
miracles of this good woman and where she hath her dwelling, for 
I have fallen into trouble, and my intention is to go to her, and ask 
for her prayers. So that perhaps God (honou